I’m a survivor of Hurricane Sandy (and other storms of life) and feel compelled to put others’ needs ahead of my own. How do I balance helping others and focusing on my own goals? —Alaiye
Sometimes life’s tragic experiences shift our priorities. Kudos to you for using the storms of your life to focus on what’s important and look for ways to serve.
Have you ever been on an airplane and heard the part of the safety announcement where it’s stated that, in case of emergency, you should put your own oxygen mask on first? At first listen, it could be perceived as selfish, but it’s not. The truth is, you’re no help to others if you’re dead. In order to take care of others, we must prioritize taking care of ourselves. Here’s how to make sure that while you’re helping others, you’re also serving yourself and your goals, too.
1. Be the change. It’s been said that children learn from what we do, not what we say. We learn and lead by example. As you consider the difference you want to make in the world, ask yourself what cause you want to contribute to and why. When you’re clear on your cause, make sure that you’re walking your talk and “being the change” by taking care of yourself.
2. Every little bit counts. Many of us have big aspirations to save the rainforest, but we’re still using paper instead of cloth napkins. Creating enormous goals without taking the small steps every day doesn’t win us any points. Know that doing your small part is meaningful, and look at the small things you can do every day — within your own home and out in the world — to make a difference.
3. Look at the complete picture of your life. How does supporting others fit in with your ideal lifestyle? When you create a complete vision of your life that encompasses your support of others, your support of your family and yourself and your goals for the future, you can begin to explore how to weave it all together. Sit down and write down your ideal vision for your life, so you have something to work toward.
4. Rock your cause. Find the way that you want to rock your cause. Is it volunteering one evening each week or creating a non-profit? Donating a percentage of your income or hosting a fundraiser? Get clear on what you want to do in a way that fits with your ideal life.
5. Schedule it in. Once you’re clear on your cause and focused on walking your talk, you’re taking the small steps that make a big difference every day, and you have a clear vision for what you’re creating, it’s time to find a flow that works for you. Take some time to sit down and create a weekly and monthly schedule that creates space for you to help others and still take excellent care of yourself and your loved ones.
To “have it all,” take these simple steps to ensure that you’re not excluding yourself. The world needs more people who are asking the important questions to discover how we can make a difference in our lives and in the world. I truly believe that the world will be set free by women who are free.