Optimizing Personal Results: The YOU-Centered Life

Are you living a “you-centered” life? I don’t mean that in an egocentric or narcissistic way. What I do mean is, do you put yourself and your needs ahead of others’ needs or wants? Are you kind to yourself? For too many people - parents and those who work in helping professions come to mind immediately - the answer is no. While some would report that answer with pride, consider this point: those who consistently fail to meet their own needs are short-changing themselves as well as those they purport to serve. There is nothing noble or virtuous about running yourself ragged in “service” to others.

Organizations cannot optimize their business results unless their employees are fully successful. When they focus their efforts on ensuring workers are fully successful, all stakeholders are well-served. Similarly, individuals cannot optimize their personal results unless they acknowledge and make their own needs a priority. Engaging in self-care before helping others results in a greater ability to be of service and provide value. This is the reason why airline passengers are instructed to put on their own oxygen masks first in case of emergency.

Here are three suggestions to help you think about how to engage in self-care and to ensure you make your needs a priority:

  • Make a list of the ways that living a “you-centered” life benefits you and the people around you. For example, consider the value you can provide when you take care of yourself and can bring your “A” game to the table, vs. the value you provide when you are dragging because you have chosen to let your own needs slide.
  • Take a look at an article I wrote last year that describes how a tool called the Personal Scorecard can help you bring balance to your life. Perhaps the examples will spark some ideas about how you can begin to make yourself a higher priority.
  • Use the template provided in chapter 2 of my e-booklet From Confusion to Chaos to prioritize the things in your life. Categorize the various elements as being critical, very important, or important. (Things, people, and activities that are not at least “important” should be eliminated completely!) Then see how closely the reality matches this priority list.

Often life experiences force us to confront the question of whether we are living a “you-centered” life. For example, personal illnesses provide opportunities to re-assess what we are doing and to make other choices. News of a friend’s or co-worker’s life-threatening illness may cause us to take a look at how we are choosing to live our own lives, and to consider whether we are making ourselves a priority.

Living a “you-centered” life is a choice that only you can make. What’s your decision?

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.

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