Before You Help Others, You Must First Help Yourself

Often, it begins with saying "no" to others and "yes" to yourself. Accountability time! Share in the comments below which of the suggestions you will start with. Or, add your own suggestion to the list.
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The cabin shakes and rumbles.

Lights go out and smoke fills the air.

Flight attendants yell, "Heads down! Stay down!"

The excruciating tension builds, and then the plane lands.

Then finally, flight attendants direct you toward the emergency slide.

No, I didn't endure a plane crash and live to tell about it.

Rather, in my previous life working for a major airline, I had the chance to experience the flight attendant safety training, first hand.

Yeah, it is intense. It shakes you up even though you know it's just a training exercise.

Much of that experience has stuck with me, especially the lesson I learned from one of the airline's security videos:

"Before you assist others, always put your oxygen mask on first."

Whenever I ask my clients what kind of person they want to become, they ultimately all want to make an impact on the lives of others.

I think that is true to all of us. We want to make a difference, to be somebody, and to know our lives mean something.

But, I've learned from my experiences that helping others is almost impossible to achieve if you are going through turbulence in your life or career.

If your current situation is unstable, how can you possibly help others?

Your job, first and foremost, is to help yourself and take care of your own needs. That's why the flight attendants encourage you to secure your oxygen mask first. If you don't, you and the person you want to help could both go down.

Put your oxygen mask on first.

What this means with regard to your career is to take care of yourself.

Be healthy.
Be happy.
Be organized.
Be financially stable.
Be independent.
Be cultured.
Be confident.
Be in peace.
Be knowledgeable.
Be calm.
Be centered.
Be content.

Here's a challenge for you: For 21 consecutive days, do one thing to take care of yourself.

It can be the same action for 21 days or a different one every day. Record it by writing down on your calendar or in your digital calendar.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Sleep 8 eight hours a night.
Wake up 30 minutes earlier than the day before.
Workout 30 minutes a day.
Go to yoga.
Eat breakfast.
Bring lunch to work.
Take a walk around the office.
Say no to something you don't want to do.
Say yes to something you haven't done before.
Get a massage.
Get a facial.
Get a manicure and pedicure.
Get a haircut.
Clean your room.
Organize a drawer.
Throw out extra clothes.
Wash your sheets.
Clean your refrigerator.
Read 10 pages of a book.
Read a blog.
Read a magazine.
Study your hero.
See a movie.
Go to the library.
Cook a new recipe.
Play the guitar.
Dance to the radio.
Sing to your favorite song.
Call your mom.
Call your dad.
Call your siblings.
Call your best friend.
Set auto pay for your bills.
Put $20 in your savings account.
Write an entry in your gratitude journal.
Send a thank you card.
Shine your shoes.
Cuddle with your cat.
Walk your dog.
Water your plants.
Buy flowers.
Hug your neighbor.
Laugh out loud.
Take a deep breath.
Tell yourself, "I love you."
... and many more

On the 21st day, answer the questions below so that you can see the transitions you made by focusing on your own happiness.

  • What changes did you notice in yourself?
  • What lessons did you learn?
  • Do you feel happier and more at ease in your own life?

Celebrate your accomplishment of taking care of yourself for 21 days in a row!

Get your own oxygen mask on so that you can assist others. It has to be done in that order. Don't fight the order or you will end up burned out with no energy left for yourself.

You need to get out of that cycle.

Often, it begins with saying "no" to others and "yes" to yourself.

Accountability time! Share in the comments below which of the suggestions you will start with. Or, add your own suggestion to the list.


Nozomi Morgan, MBA, is a certified Executive Coach and the Founder and President of Michiki Morgan Worldwide LLC. Addition to coaching, she speaks and trains on leadership, career, professional development and cross-cultural business communication.

Visit to learn more about Nozomi . There, you can download the free Leadership Discovery Tool. Follow Nozomi on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

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