Introduction – Take Care of Yourself

We live in a world that increasingly values us for what we do, without recognizing us for who we are. This creates pressure to succeed in ways that our society regards highly – getting promoted, creating amazing products, growing our businesses, making the big bucks and becoming well known.

The result? Our self-worth gets tied up in how we function as “human doings” rather than resting on who we are as human beings. We push ourselves so hard to achieve, produce, and succeed.

Many of us end up working 24-7, determined to meet others’ urgent needs and demands. I’m here to tell you, with great empathy: That’s no way to live. Nor is it a great way to be successful in the long run.

Nancy L. Seibel, Founder and Principal, Keys to Change, LLC

You Are Not a Machine – and Even Machines Need Maintenance

Machines can’t keep going forever without maintenance and care. Neither can we. If we push ourselves until something breaks down, who will do our important work? What if we didn’t drive ourselves ever harder until we fail? What if we found ways to take care of ourselves, so we can keep taking care of our important work, and the people who matter so much? There are plenty of examples of hard-driving, high achievers out there.

Here’s one… Jeff is a middle-aged, intelligent, humorous and dedicated father of three, a busy executive and an active volunteer with his church. He takes these responsibilities seriously and gives his all to them. Even with the pressures on his time – or maybe because of them – Jeff came to one of my Lets Get UnBusy workshops.

He was feeling pressured, tired and drained, and longing for some time to himself. He did an exercise mapping out how he uses his time. That lead to his big ‘AHA’ moment.

I’ve been spending hours every month meticulously checking bank and credit card statements for errors. I can’t stop until I’m sure everything balances! Why am I doing that?” ‘

He realized he’s into control and detail management, and there’s good reason to keep close track of income and expenses, so he’s not about to completely strike that task from the to-do list.

“But,” he said, in a tone of discovery, “I can hire a bookkeeper to do that for me!”

Way to go, Jeff!

Sometimes, like Jeff, we just need a safe place to slow down, think things through, and figure out how to push back against the pressures to be human doings, and remember that we are human beings.

Time to Thrive!

While our culture puts the “human doing” forward as the ideal for all of us, we’re learning that working excessive hours for prolonged periods of time eventually causes health, well-being and productivity to decline.

It boils down to this: If we want our work to thrive, we have to thrive.

I can hear you saying, “Seriously? I’m dealing with so many demands at work, plus home, family, friends – you know, my personal life. Now you’re saying I need to find time to take care of myself?

I know, you’re crazy-busy. But you can do this.

How do I know this? Because I’ve done it. I lived that crazy-busy life, until I finally couldn’t any more.

These lessons spring from what I learned the hard way – from getting burned out with some pretty bad physical symptoms to go along with it. I recovered, and now use what I learned to stay well, energetic, focused and productive. What you discover here just might help you do the same – without having to learn the hard way!

In five brief lessons, we’ll take quick look at a belief or behavior commonly held by hard-working, over-giving, service-centered professionals. These are things that can cause us to neglect our ourselves. Then you’ll get practical strategies for taking care of yourself, so you can keep taking care of everything else. By the time we are done, you’ll have found practical, do-able strategies for taking care of yourself.

These are the five lessons:

  1. Putting Everyone and Everything Else First.
  2. Doing it All Yourself
  3. Working 24-7
  4. Saying Yes to Everything
  5. Not Taking Time to Reflect

Ready? Watch your email for a link to the first lesson. It’s called “Putting Everyone and Everything Else First.” It’ll be here soon. Until then, take care of yourself! Questions or comments? Get in touch or post them in the comments section below.

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