Recently, I was on an airplane flight and just before takeoff the flight attendant reviewed the usual safety rules. Does anyone really pay attention to what the flight attendant is saying these days? In reviewing the safety precautions, the flight attendant always talks about what to do in case there is a sudden loss of oxygen in the cabin. You are advised that if you are traveling with small children to make sure you put on your oxygen mask first before you attend to the child.
So the message is: take care of yourself so you can, in turn, take care of others.
If you are passed out due to lack of oxygen you obviously can’t help another person put on their oxygen mask.
Today we are going to redefine a word that is often used in the English language and change it from a negative connotation to a positive one. The word is: selfish.
As a child, I was always told that I shouldn’t be selfish. If little Johnny or little Suzy wanted my candy I should share it with them. I should let little Billy play with my trucks even though little Billy may not have been very careful with my fleet of toy trucks. Didn’t seem to matter if little Billy was breaking my toys. I just wasn’t suppose to be selfish.
In the business world today, more than ever, you need to be selfish. Let me repeat that: You absolutely need to be selfish.
But let’s define selfish: Taking care of one’s self.
If you are not taking care of your own self… If you are not making money… If the business isn’t giving you what you need… If you dislike what you do and dread going to work each day… Then you can’t give to others. You can’t pay the expected salaries or offer good benefit packages or hire more employees… You can’t create a team environment at your place of business… You can’t motivate others to do a good job… You can’t create favorable word-of-mouth out in the marketplace with your customers…
Although you need to be generous and caring and looking out for other people that are employed by you or provided a service or product by your company, it’s important that you take care of yourself first so you are able to take care of others.
The recession has been brutal on business people. Longer work hours, less sleep, more worry. If you have worked every day for weeks on end without a day off, you deserve a day off to renew yourself and your perspective. Or maybe you leave early on Friday afternoon to get a jump on the weekend. Maybe you meet a friend or a spouse for lunch as a special surprise and treat. Maybe it means sleeping in on Saturday for a change.
There are times in business when you need to set boundaries. When it is okay to say “no”.
By doing so, by taking care of yourself, by being a bit selfish, you can then rethink with a fresh perspective the business so you can give yourself and your employees a better environment to work in every day; and so everyone can live a better life because the company will be a more productive and profitable business.