I’m going out on a limb and surmising there is no one on the planet who has not been impacted in some way by this weird year.  How and where you do your job might be different.  What you do on vacation may never have looked like it does right now.  In fact, the hospitality and travel industries are some of the hardest hit. 

Remember when we used to just pack up and go?  Did we do that much this year?  Probably not.  Would we like to do it again?  Probably so. Even though it may have been a while, most of us have flown somewhere for some reason, and when we did, we sat in First Class, Business Class or Coach.  Did we learn anything from that experience (other than to check in early!)? 

With no offense intended to those who fly First Class on a regular basis, the three seating areas can teach us about taking care of ourselves.  If you’ve flown First Class you know the flight attendants are very attentive; they take care of everything, so you only need to consider yourself.  If you’re in Business Class, there is a lesser level of attention, and you learn to politely make it known if you need assistance.  Coach is the largest seating area with the fewest attendants, and it’s mostly up to you.  We call these areas self-focus, self-leadership, and self-care.

If you’re a frequent flyer, you can repeat the spiel in your sleep.  Even if you’ve only flown once, you’ve heard it.  No plane leaves the ground until the flight attendants have outlined the safety instructions, which include remaining seated with your seatbelt fastened and knowing where the exits are.  The point of today’s discussion is the advice on what to do in case of an emergency: Put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help anyone else. 

Because I focus much of my practice on servant leadership, today’s topic may seem counterintuitive.  After I got over arguing with myself about the need to help others first, I realized the accuracy of the insight that we must make ourselves a priority.  Focusing on ourselves in a way that serves all aspects of our lives enables us to serve others better.

Here are a few ways to do that to close out 2020 and set yourself up for greater success as we go into 2021.

  1. Self-Focus

Most leaders do not want to focus on themselves because it feels selfish or even egotistical.  This approach fails to recognize that we play a very important part in our own lives as well as the lives of those around us. Understanding and embracing the role you have in your own life is a starting point to self-care.  We all need to set aside time in our lives to work on ourselves, which means we need, at times, to focus solely on ourselves.

  1. Self-Leadership

The first person we lead is ourselves.  You are an example of how you lead – your dress, language, tone of voice, attitude, how you show up to meetings – these all impact how others see you.  Regardless of whether you take good or poor care of yourself, those you lead will reap the rewards or consequences of your self-leadership.

  1. Self-Care

You can accomplish more for others when your emotional and physical batteries are fully charged.  Do not give away the time you have set aside for you. 

As we near the end of 2020, reflect: How often have you put your oxygen mask on first?

If you haven’t prioritized yourself this year, you can set yourself up for better focus going into 2021. 

What matters is how well you focus, lead, and care for yourself.  Time for prayer, time for reading, time for health, time for working out, time for rest, and time for relationships.

If you’re unsure how you well you’ve done this year, ask your spouse, a best friend, a mentor.  And put yourself as a priority in 2021.  YOU are worth it.  And you’ll be more prepared and equipped to help put others’ oxygen masks on because you’re already wearing yours.

Need an external source to help you identify where you are in your priorities?  Let’s chat.


P.S.  If this describes you and you want to book a Complimentary Strategy Session so we can get you moving in the right direction, just click on my Complimentary Strategy Session calendar link here and let’s book a time together so you can get started today!