Years ago during some work with a colleague and now dear friend, my ears perked up when he told a room full of emerging leaders that they owed it to the people who would depend upon them to do what it would take to show up fully. To bring the best of themselves to every endeavor, every day.
That admonition has stuck with me ever since, and I work to not only share it with others, but to live it myself. Yesterday, when writing a blog post about my process for becoming a better steward of my time, his words from years ago came to mind again, as they often do. I ended the post by sharing the four categories I use to consider how to spend my time on who and what matter to me. And because it matters to me to be authentic and appropriately transparent about how I personally apply to myself what I am asking my readers to consider, I shared my four headings:
“In case you’re wondering, my categories were: Molly; People; Vocation; Everything Else. In that order.”
And, to be authentic and transparent, I had to think long and hard about confessing that the priorities for how I spend my time start with me. Even reading it now gives me pause as it sounds self-centered and like life is all about me. (Which, as the youngest of four, and as a four on the enneagram, sometimes it kinda is.) But this isn’t that. In order to show up for the other three categories well, for the people I love, the work that I offer, and everything else that matters to me, I have to bring as much of myself to those parties as I can.
Admittedly, every chapter is different, and what we can do to take care of ourselves in those chapters varies wildly. Sometimes the most we can do is find a few moments of quiet in which to take a few deep breaths. If this is one of those chapters, grab every one of those moments and gulp in as much air as you can before heading back into the fray. Sometimes extending grace to ourselves for doing what we can, and not shaming ourselves for what we can’t, is the most radical act of self care we can take.
We owe it to those who depend on us whether at home or at work or around the corner, to figure out what it takes to bring the best of ourselves to every endeavor, every day. And, we owe it to ourselves as well. I don’t want to leave anything on the table when my time is up. I just want to make sure I bring everything I have to the table while I’m here.
(Thank you DB)