Dear Why Team member,
This week we consider...
Being Selfish for Others
Hmm, doesn’t sound right does it?
I remember me sitting in my car in front of my home, talking to my Mother on the phone and sharing with her a fairly well known concept: successful investing is often counterintuitive - meaning that the wisest decisions are often the opposite of what we might think.
I then said to her: “Mom, could a successful life be counterintuitive?”
To which she replied: “Ah honey, you have to write that down.”
You could say this moment was the birth of my regularly-writing some twelve years ago. To this day, I feel compelled to write down insights that come to me - to explore them - find what they have to teach me and hopefully find value to share with others. The Why Team was born out of this desire-to-inquire.
Thank you for being a Why Team member! This particular post is also an invitation for you to contribute via comments. My original vision for the Why Team, going back almost ten years ago, recognized that all members are leaders. If you have the ability to serve and influence at least one person, you are in a Leadership position. Since the beginning of the blog, comments have been turned off for reasons related to the industry in which I work, but now we have found a way to open a forum and still meet the requirements of my industry. If you feel compelled to contribute any ideas, thoughts or inspirations that arise from reading one of my posts, please don’t bury your gift of insight, please share it with the team.
This week’s post looks at one of my stepping stones- laid down for me early in my experience working with a life coach.
Why a life coach?
Consider this: “We can’t see the picture when we’re in the frame.”
I have found that partnering with a professional coach requires an ongoing discipline of humility- most effectively accomplished from a spirit of wanting to become more for self and for others.
An early teaching from my coach was that of self care. It seems counterintuitive that first serving ourselves is necessary if we are to be more effective at serving others.
Dr. Curt Spear, my life coach for over 15 years, often speaks to energy exchange. He says that energy out depends on energy in. While this stands to reason, it’s not uncommon to see people serve others to exhaustion that leads to resentment.
Hmm, I wonder their Why?
There are those who serve from abundance, giving from a cup that is overflowing - and then there are those who serve from scarcity - in an effort to fill their own cup. Could their choices be more a form of identity- “Look at me, look at how I sacrifice for others. See my admirable quality.” Notice how those who repeat this pattern have a habit of sharing their sacrifice with others.
If you find yourself doing this, it really is the time to ask Why?
It’s not uncommon that serving from a place of lack can lead to more pain than gain. We have all encountered those who even put the health of others before their own. Yet it’s so wired into us that selfish behaviors are selfish. So much so that every airline flight begins with the important instruction that should there be a loss of cabin pressure, put your mask on your face first! - then assist your child. Can you believe the selfishness of a parent seeking to first get oxygen for themselves while their child can’t breathe? It is of course the instinct of most parents to put their child first, but if as a result, the parent passes out, they can be of no good to anyone. Consider extending this awareness to other areas of your life. Where do you put others first that does harm to your own self care?
Ask yourself Why you do it?
Has this behavior become a part of your identity?
Is your Why a Calling or Compulsion?
Consider Dr. Curt Spears insight on energy exchange. Everything is energy. We bring energy or we consume it. You know those in your life that lift you and those who drain you. Notice that those who drain you likely are not caring much for themselves. In fact they are often the very ones who call you selfish because they want something from you. If they rarely fill their own tank, they can end up siphoning from yours. Observe yourself. Do you at times draw energy at the expense of others? How much and how often? Asking those questions can help us step away from the picture we’re in and be able to objectively analyze how full is the cup we’re serving from. By analyzing our behavior, we can better understand our motives and the root of our actions.
What additional selfish self-care choice could you make to fill your own tank? Notice those who eat well, sleep well, exercise regularly, take time for themselves, reading, relaxing, meditating - notice how much more capable they are at serving others. Your car cannot serve yourself or others without fuel in the tank. And the quality of that fuel determines the quality of performance. Selfishly filling our own tank is absolutely necessary if we are to become more for others.
Consider your routines of self care and what more you might be able to do for yourself - to become even more for yourself and for others.
Make it a great week!