There is a really interesting philosophical question that has been floating around for years. It is philosophical because it is open to interpretation and it is very subjective, it isn’t clear cut and the is no cookie-cutter answer, so this article will most certainly divide some opinions. Good. Because then we have a platform for discussion. The question is:
“Who are the most important people in your life?”
Or. To frame this a different way.
“List the 3 most important people in your life”
Of course, you can change that 3 to a 5 or more if you choose to. On the face of it, it’s a pretty straightforward question that will usually involve some looking up and left (constructing an image) followed by a list of people who are near and dear to you.
There is a lot of people though who miss out one person on their lists time and time again.
This article is all about why you are the most important person in your life, and how to look after #1.
As performance practitioners, we give our time for the benefit of others dreams. We fight for them to succeed, and that is our success. As I have discussed before though in the previous FlipBook Friday articles ‘What is your practitioner vision’ and ‘What professional anchors are holding you back?’. We can become better at our jobs, as people who choose to serve others, if we can carve out time and space for ourselves.
Because. As the Career Blueprint mantra goes…..
‘You are more than just a performance practitioner’
In this article, I will discuss why it is so important to look after number one, how it can make you a more rounded and happier practitioner and, most importantly, how it will arm you with the skills to build the professional pathway you want.
Why you are the most important person in your life. The next section of this article is where it will get controversial for some people. If you write a list of the top 3 or 5 most important people in your life and you are not on that list then you could be missing a trick. Looking after your own physical and mental wellbeing is going to give you the space and mental clarity to provide a better ‘service’ as a practitioner, partner, parent and friend or something in between. To put this a different way, it is quite difficult to preach to others about getting their ducks in a row if you aren’t projecting these same things.
This does not mean you have to have everything figured out in your personal and professional life, or that you are completely free of issues. But it does mean that you ensure you carve out time and space for yourself and don’t always put everyone else first. As mentioned above, performance practitioners serve others. We support others in their goals and dreams, so when we are kind and loving towards ourselves it emanates onto others. An alternative view. Consider all the things/people that can influence your happiness, life or wellbeing. If you like you can write them down. In every instance you are the person with the most control and the highest stakes, after all, it is your life. There will be days or phases of your life when others simply need to be put first and your efforts have to be realigned. But this can’t last forever, or those people will end up taking all that energy and they themselves will end up getting diminished returns from you. You cannot (sustainably) be the giver of energy, support and love for others without looking inwards first.
As service providers in a people-based industry which required empathy, compassion, and emotional investment it is not possible to drain your emotional wellbeing battery without having strategies in place to recharge. This is all about recognising that sometimes you may need to take a step back from a situation and recharge the batteries in order to keep giving. Essentially this is called emotional burnout. It is becoming quite prevalent in the performance practitioner industry, but it really doesn’t have to be this way. With some self-care, self-awareness and I guess self-preservation you can redress the balance.
How you can look after #1
There are hundreds of ways you can prioritise yourself and make some time and space for a reboot, so this article isn’t going to give you a long list, google is awesome for that. It means something totally different to everyone. In the exercise below, the goal is to identify your circle, your relationships with your circle and how you can make some changes to your life.
- Grab a blank A4 piece of paper
- Draw 5 circles (as below)
- In each circle write an important person’s name
- If you didn’t put your name on the list, take a second sheet/turn over the page and add your name in
- Think about every one of the people on the page and your relationship with them
- Think about your involvement in these relationships (positive, negative or indifferent)
- Consider how whether you giving a bit more energy, time and attention to yourself would enhance the quality of your interactions with the others in the circle
- If you felt like your interactions would improve with some self-care, list down what this could include
- From this list, write a specific action (or two) that can turn these ideas into a reality
The reality of life is that if we don’t look after ourselves and our own interests then it is difficult to expect others to do that for us. Equally, it is difficult to provide the level of service we want to, or that our athletes/clients deserve if we don’t have the mental and emotional energy to do so. So, this article is a call to action. Look after number 1, no, not always first. But make sure you don’t forget about yourself and get swallowed up just going with the flow helping others and not yourself.