When I was in college, my days started before my feet hit the floor… or so my roommate said. I was that morning person who couldn’t wait to get going, even on the weekends. Later, well into my career, I was a good fit for a global company that had employees covering all time zones and a culture that was 24/7: always available, always “on.” When I started a family, this became harder, and I found I struggled to recover at that pace. Now, as an entrepreneur running a global business, who has grown children and young grandchildren, the pace still becomes unsustainable at times. This is especially true now, as each of our days has become a blend of home and work life in this global pandemic. Maybe you feel something similar today or have felt like this through the various stages of your life.
“I never lose. I either win or learn.” Nelson Mandela
We are in one of the biggest learning chapters of our lives.
With COVID-19 changing our daily routines, we feel many things are out of our control. It would be easy to fall into despair and feel stuck. But I know when we get through the other side, we will look back on this time and acknowledge how much we were pushed, pulled, and forced to grow. Now is when we can think outside the box and try doing things differently than we have before. There is goodness in this if we take advantage of the opportunity.
Every conversation I have had in the month of January, I started it with, “Happy new year, happy new decade! Think back to 2010 – the last turn of the decade. Where were you? What were you doing? It’s likely you can remember the city you lived in, the company you were with, and the role you had. You might remember something particular about a relationship, the age of your children, or perhaps a major milestone. But I want you to think about your mental state: where you were inside your head. Were you thinking of the coming decade and what you wanted to learn or how you wanted to grow? Did you celebrate any of that good stuff you had along the way: your achievements, milestones, etc.
In a recent conversation with 4 Signature Program alumni, as I walked through this questioning, one commented, “You made me stop and reflect. The last decade was so intense and full, that it flew by. I’m not sure I stopped to think about those achievements, let alone celebrate them. Do you have any counsel for how we do that better for the next decade?”
I was working out yesterday in my usual spot at the community center, when I overheard someone say, “What are you doing for Valentine’s Day tomorrow?” I had forgotten. Without a special someone in my life, it was easy to overlook this day. I had made no special plans for today.
I’m settled into my airplane seat, deciding what action item I will tackle first while I have 3 hours of flight time, when the usual safety announcement comes on. When it gets to the… “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will automatically drop above your seat. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, be sure to secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”
I listen to that announcement and cannot imagine that I would NOT put my child’s mask on, or help a fragile elderly person next to me. I go last! And yet, the message is very clear.
You are no good to anyone, if you don’t take care of yourself first!