The majority of people I work with and speak to are highly successful and intelligent high-achieving professional women and entrepreneurs. It’s the same type of women I’m also connected with on Facebook and other social media. The interesting thing about social media is that you get to have a peek into other people’s lives from their posts and also from the comments by others. If you pay attention, there are some patterns and trends worth noticing.
For example, there is a worrisome trend I’ve observed over the years, but more so in the last few years. More and more women (whether successful professional women, entrepreneurs, or stay-at-home moms) are pushing themselves past breaking point! As women, we’ve taken on more and more responsibilities both at home and at work. In the process of pursuing our professional goals and taking care of our loved ones, our own needs often got pushed off our mile-long to-do list. Not only that, I’m seeing more and more women who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) take a much-needed break UNLESS they are sick.
Can you relate?
I cringe every time I read or hear someone say that they are so physically ill or injured, BUT they choose to push on, instead of allowing themselves to rest and heal. They complain that they are feeling so miserable, but, they still wouldn’t stop. So, a simple cold might drag on forever, or turn into a sinus infection or even pneumonia. Then, and ONLY then, they’d be FORCED to take a long break in order to recover.
Believe me, I know this all too well, because that used to be my M.O. for many years.
Years ago, I was working with a very successful business coach, who is a typical Type-A high achiever. I’d never forget a story she told us. She was pushing herself really hard, as usual, and running nonstop building her coaching business, writing a new book and getting ready for an international speaking tour that she was really excited about. Right before her speaking tour, however, she tripped and broke her Achilles tendon! She was forced to cancel her speaking tour and rest for 6 months. It was a painful and long recovery, not to mention a costly lesson. She laughed and said that the Universe literally forced her to stop, because she wouldn’t listen.
That story really made an impression on me. I became very aware of how often I had done the same thing to myself. I was so driven and always pushed myself relentlessly. It’d take nothing short of an illness or injury to slow me down. I almost always got sick right after a big goal or project was completed — and sometimes I got sick right before the deadline. Sounds familiar? I’d push and push, ignoring my body’s signal for needing a break. Then I’d get sick and rightfully get a chance to rest. It’s almost as if I unconsciously didn’t feel that I deserved to rest UNLESS I was sick, so my body had to break down in order to get the rest it needed.
Can you relate? The show must go on, you might say. And, you’d even say it with a sense of pride, as if you’re wearing a badge of honor for working so hard while you’re feeling so ill.
One time, a very successful coach I know said that she was very proud for delivering a multi-day training, even though she was running a high fever and coughing miserably. She patted herself on the back for keeping her commitment in spite of her flu. I commended her on her strong work ethic and commitment, then gently asked, “I wonder if it is for your highest good, and your participants’ highest good, for you to deliver the training when you are feeling so sick?“
It’s something to think about, isn’t it? Besides the obvious concern that you don’t want to pass your germs to someone else, why are you doing this to yourself? More importantly, what are you modeling for your clients, team members, students, colleagues, and/or children?
Whether you are a professional woman, business owner, corporate executive or working mom, your health and well-being are essential for your long-term success and happiness. You are the “golden goose” and you need to treat yourself accordingly.
When I look back at how I was treating myself years ago, my heart is filled with compassion for my younger self — just as I’m now feeling compassionate toward the women who are pushing themselves relentlessly, often past breaking point. I’m so glad that I’ve learned to be kinder to myself, take better care of myself, and tune in more keenly to my own body. I rest when I need to. I no longer need to get sick, just so that I can “legitimately” take a much-needed break.
If you are one of those high-achievers who push themselves without proper self-care, if you are heading toward burning out or breaking down (physically and/or emotionally), please, STOP in the name of love. STOP in the name of self-love. STOP for the sake of the people you love (and those who love you). STOP for the sustainable success of your career, business, and/or the cause you care deeply about. They need you to be healthy, happy, vibrant and engaged. They need you to be there for them for years to come. Your burning out or breaking down WOULD NOT serve anyone.
I sincerely hope that you, too, will learn to be more loving and compassionate toward yourself. Give yourself a little more time each day, to rest, to nurture your body and recharge your spirit. Even just a few minutes of quiet time or a cat nap would make a huge difference. Give it a try, OK? YOU deserve it.
If you need more inspiration and strategies for taking care of yourself WHILE you take care of others, make sure you get a copy of my book Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul: 7 Keys to Nurture Yourself While Caring for Others. You can download the first 4 chapters (as my gift to you) at www.IntensiveSelfCareBook.com.
Take good care of yourself… because you are irreplaceable!
|About Hueina Su|
|Hueina Su is an internationally recognized expert in helping heart-centered, successful but exhausted high-achieving professional women break The Good Girl Spell, and find the missing PEACE and BALANCE in their stressful lives. She is an international keynote speaker, certified executive and life coach, best-selling author of Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul: 7 Keys to Nurture Yourself While Caring for Others, and a featured expert in the award-winning transformational movie The Keeper of the Keys along with Jack Canfield, John Gray and Marci Shimoff.
For more information about Hueina’s speaking, coaching, book and other products, visit www.HueinaSu.com