Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Put Your Oxygen Mask On First!

By Karen Dodd on Jul 05 2010 • Filed under New Clients by Design

Some time ago, former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, drew cheers and laughter when she said, "there is a special place in Hell for women who do not help other women." I remember chuckling at the time about her comment, but honestly didn't give it too much more thought.

Then, not long ago, my treasured friend and Woman On Fire, Debbie Phillips said in her blog:

"I believe when we gently place our hand on the back of another woman…life doesn't have to be so hard."

The basic Law of Reciprocity requires us to support each other, regardless of gender. However, I have found that until I was able to be truly present in the moment, I wasn't really taking this philosophy to heart.

Often, I find that female entrepreneurs are so busy taking care of friends, spouses and family, that they find themselves exhausted and burned out – and life becomes a struggle. Assuming that you know you have great gifts to share with the world, how can you help other people if you can’t help yourself?

Each time I listen to the flight attendant instruct passengers to put their oxygen masks on first, before going to the aid of a child, I can almost hear parents saying to themselves, “Yeah, right!” Although, it seems counter intuitive, we know that if we pass out from lack of air, we won’t be able to assist our loved one in any way.

Likewise, if you don’t take care to get enough rest, eat well, and yes – just plain pamper yourself from time to time, it’s difficult to support others with intention and be truly present in our relationships and our businesses.

Your Assignment:

1. Take a blank sheet of paper and write at the top: "Things That I Love." Now make a list of things that bring you joy.

They can be big things or little things: expensive things or cost nothing at all. Perhaps it’s the smell of clean sheets, walking barefoot on the beach, chocolate, going for a massage or having a pedicure. Did I mention chocolate? Set a timer for one minute and just write.

2. Make it a point to pick two things on your list and celebrate with intention.

In other words if you already have a regular pedicure scheduled, good for you – but now I want you to build two new celebrations into your day, every day. This would be the perfect time to set aside 15 – 30 minutes a day to reflect, meditate or pray, or anything else you’ve been “meaning” to do.

3. Support and encourage another woman to celebrate.

Offer to swap child-minding duties with another mom so that you each get your precious times to re-charge your batteries. If you don’t have the responsibility of small children, then invite a friend to share in your celebration (perhaps going for a walk together) and then the next time, do something she’d like to do. 

It takes time to create a new habit.

Keep in mind that it generally takes 21 days to form a new habit, so stick with your celebration plan long enough for it to become a discipline. Also, remember to be gentle with yourself. There will undoubtedly be times when you feel irritation or despair at the day not unfolding the way you had planned.

When this happens, recognize the presence of your feelings and as Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book, You Are Here, practice this mantra: “Dear one, I am here for you.”

By being mindful and present for yourself first , you will be much more able to step into your greatness with EASE and GRACE.



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