I was thinking about my WHY last night. Why I do what I do in my work. There were lots of answers. I want to: make a contribution, share what has helped me and what has helped others, live a fulfilled life, help those who are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, depressed. Then when I wrote down...
I want to be an example to my children
...that’s when the tears started and I had that feeling in my body that I knew I had struck a chord.
I want my kids to live a life that they love full of contribution, fulfilment and purpose.
I need to lead by example.
But I can’t do this if my energy is depleted, if I’m feeling completely stressed out, anxious and overwhelmed. Of course I want them to see that the journey is not always a smooth one, that it’s ok to have sadness, grief and anger. I want to show them how possible it is to work through the tough times.
But I want to show them it’s a journey worth taking. Not for the end result but for the road that gets you there.
I want to show them that in order to do what I want to do then I have to take care of myself. Make myself a priority. Have compassion towards myself. I want to show them that on his journey I am also nourishing myself. So that is what they do too. That is the norm.
I want to show them that to do this I need to be fit, I have to have endurance and I need to be strong physically and mentally.
That to have the energy for my work, my friends and my family, I know I have to, as hard as this is to even write this, let alone believe it, I have to put myself first. But the thought of being at your best to give back to your family is good for banishing guilt. It’s also good for getting you out of bed in the morning. Setting that example is a driving force that gets me exercising, dancing round the house or has me setting my timer on my phone for two minutes to meditate, even when it’s the last thing I feel like doing.
I heard entrepreneur, Charlene Johnson, say when she thinks about the analogy of putting your oxygen mask on first that of course she would. I’ve never gone deeper with this thought other than yes I need to find my own oxygen mask for me. She put the focus on her children, ‘I want my children to survive, I want them to thrive’ she said in an episode of her podcast. ‘Of course I’d put my oxygen mask on first because I want them to live.’
What is a little moment you could do each day that’s your oxygen mask? 20 deep breaths, 20 push ups at the kitchen bench every morning, what could yours be?
What does you making time for you, giving back to you, prioritising you, nourishing you mean for those around you that you care about the most?
For me, when I have given back to myself, I’m much more likely to read my daughters a story at night with more enthusiasm, even if it’s late. I’ll sing them an extra chorus of a song and spend an extra minute rubbing their back at night. When I’ve given back to me I can do this wth love rather than the feeling of ‘get me out of here for a glass of wine’. These are such little things but they add up to such a big difference.