Taking CARE of Ourselves

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
– Elizabeth Kubler Ross –

Have you noticed that sometimes when we write something or prepare new material, it is partly because we need the reminder ourselves? How true that is of this article! Just last week I was with a dear speaker friend who was showing me a wonderful new workbook he had created for an upcoming program. As I thumbed through it, I was struck by a checklist about how motivational energy levels can be increased. They included:

  • Complete physical exam each year
  • Balanced, reduced-fat, controlled-calorie diet
  • At least 64 ounces of water every day
  • Physician-directed dietary supplements (vitamins, fiber, etc.)
  • Aerobic and strength training 3 times a week
  • Sufficient amounts of sound sleep ever night
  • Mind-body health exercises (positive self-talk, meditation, etc.)
  • Spiritual affirmation through your personal belief system
  • Maintain the same schedule every day, including weekends
  • Intelligent use of alcohol and tobacco

The real irony was that while he was prescribing these behaviors for his audiences, there were very few of them he was doing in his own life!

As motivational speakers, we constantly give so much to our audiences that we often have little energy left to ourselves. My personal brand is “Regenerating Spirit – Creating Cultures Where People Matter,” and I focus on Regenerating Spirit in the Workplace, in the Home, and in Yourself. I have found that in most organizations, in most homes, and even in most individuals, the primary focus is on the external rather than the internal, and I am no exception. What I keep learning and relearning, however, is that until our own spirits are renewed, it is very difficult to renew the spirits of others.

Stephen Covey first wrote about the concept of the “Emotional Bank Account.” Basically, it says that during our day we get deposits and we get withdrawals. When we have withdrawal after withdrawal, we end up bankrupt, and in that state we can do little good for anyone. In my presentations I ask my audiences to think about how, when they realize their own emotional bank account is low, they can give themselves a deposit. As motivational speakers, we are constantly depositing into the emotional bank accounts of others, so it is critically important that we keep a close eye on our own balance.

As many of you know, I’ve had some really huge withdrawals in my emotional bank account over the years, including losing a child and the recent death of my husband. Because I am alone and because, just like all of you, I have a deep sense of mission about my work, I often find lately that I am working all the time, and that can become another withdrawal. Most of the time, however, I consciously try to make the effort to refill my emotional bank account so that I will be able to give my full self to my audiences.

Here are some ways that I have found to do that:

  • Keeping a “Blessings Journal.” At the end of each day I write the names of people who have made a difference in my life that day. It is amazing that even on the worst days, there are still blessings!
  • Giving myself permission to have fun. Whether it is going shopping, getting a manicure, going to a movie I’ve wanted to see, or simply walking on the beach, at least once a week I try to do something just for me. Daily I do simple things like taking 5 minute vacations or calling someone who loves me.
  • Reading something that brings me joy. The way I balance this is that when I am on a business trip, I make a deal with myself‹on the way there I catch up on business reading, but on the way back I get to read “fun” stuff.
  • Planning to be with people I love or want to get to know. At least once a week I make definite plans to be with at least one good friend and at least one person I’d like to get to know better. During busy travel weeks I have to do this by phone or I schedule time with people in the cities where I am speaking. This helps me keep my problems in perspective.
  • Appreciating others. I spend a few hours each week (sometimes longer) thanking people who have made a difference in my life. Even though this is a form of giving, it always refills my emotional bank account.
  • Having some quiet time each day. This is my time for prayer, reflection, spiritual reading, and centering. I call these moments “Pockets of Peace,” and they can be found anywhere – in the woods, in the car, in doctor’s offices, and on airplanes.
  • Exercising. When I am at my home in Sarasota, Florida, I walk on the beach and/or swim a mile every day. When I am in Illinois, I spend 40 minutes on my treadmill. Often I walk with a friend and we talk as much (or more) than we walk!

Think about what you can do for yourself to keep your own emotional bank account full and write down at least two things. Then use that as an actionable strategy to take CARE of yourself. As I was writing this article, I was reminded that for the past three months I have been wanting to get a massage, and yet I let everything else get in the way of doing that. I am calling for an appointment first thing in the morning!

We have an awesome responsibility and a precious blessing in the work we do. We must keep ourselves refilled and renewed so that we can truly be our best selves and make a difference in the lives of others.

© Barbara Glanz Communications. All Rights Reserved.

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at bglanz@barbaraglanz.com and www.barbaraglanz.com.

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