It’s a sexy notion, romanticised by shows like Suits (which I do love) – the idea that we can work 60 hours a week and still look like we walked out of the salon, whilst maintaining the body weight we were in high school. However, that is unrealistic. Instead you hear stories like…I made all the money I could ever need, but somewhere in the process I lost my health. I stopped taking care of myself and then I lost it all.
This was always a fear for me – how the hell am I going to balance my career with all of the rest. Especially when so many jobs these days require you to give a lot of yourself. I tend to push the envelope – always thinking I can fit more into the day than I should and never quite listening to my body until I’m flattened, with no choice but to rest.
It made me realise a couple of things. Not only is good self-care a vital component in the making of success, but without self-care, nothing else matters. If our body and mind are not running at 100%, then how do we possibly hope to move through all the growing pains required for us to reach our goals.
Of late, I have chosen to look at my body and health differently. I decided to treat it like a small business that I want to grow. To prosper, I need to invest in it. In fact, for the foreseeable future, I need to invest majority of my profits back into the business. Whatever the resource – time or money, if I’m not willing to sink it into myself, how do I hope to become greater than I am. Whether it is good food, the pilates instructor, early nights, a massage, a decent pillow, a day off here and there, therapy – we have to prioritise whatever it is that keeps us firing on all cylinders.
When I was at University I learned about Maslow’s heirarchy of needs – a psychological theory that is still used in management training today to understand human motivation. Maslow was a psychologist who believed that people are driven to meet certain needs. When one need is fulfilled, an individual will then move on to the next. These needs are hierarchical – that is, basic physical and psychological needs must be met before we can drive our remaining resources (our energy) into the need at the top of the pyramid – self-actualisation. As the figure states, self-actualisation is the space where one achieves one’s true potential.
“Maslow insists that the urge for self-actualization is deeply entrenched in the human psyche, but only surfaces once the more basic needs are fulfilled. Once the powerful needs for food, security, love and self-esteem are satisfied, a deep desire for creative expression and self-actualization rises to the surface.” – Source
It is an illusion that to succeed we must sacrifice ourselves at every turn for our work. Some of my best ideas have come to me after periods of intense rest. Yes, we must work hard – the things we want the most in life can test us with years of their absence. However, sacrificing our emotional and physical health is a poor strategy that will not pay off. For once we have mastered radical self-care, including love for our bodies, our mind has the space to go about coming up with the big creative stuff.
This body is the vehicle that will drive me toward all that I want in my life. For that reason, it must be the top priority on the list. The rest will take care of itself.
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Much love xx
Bikini – Triangl; Photo – My own