Life is such a mixed bag. And while we trainers struggle with our personal journeys, we also bear immense responsibilities in our professional lives for those we teach, train, instruct, and inspire. So sometimes we need a gentle reminder to take better care of ourselves because we can't give away what has been depleted inside us. With that in mind, here is a tip from my breakout session, "Going Lightly," to remind you to be gentle with yourself as you navigate your workday.
I'll begin with a story you've probably heard a version of:
"It had been a long, hot day and workers were tired and thirsty. The boss took a pitcher of water and began filling the workers’ water glasses. Soon the pitcher was empty, but the boss continued to pour nothing into empty glasses. Finally, a worker spoke up: ‘Excuse me, but your pitcher is empty. You need to refill it first before you fill our glasses.’ The boss looked at him and smiled. 'You're absolutely right.' She then left to refill her pitcher."
The moral? To serve others, you first must serve yourself. Put another way, to have the health, time, and energy to train, you first must take care of your own physical, mental, and emotional needs.
So what refills your pitcher? What are the small daily things that give you a lift, that replenish your energy when it’s low, that make you smile and feel lighter? What keeps your energy moving and flowing so you can fill the water glasses of your training participants—and family, friends, co-workers, and customers—without depleting your own? What do you do to renew and re-energize yourself?
Maybe a walk, a nap, or some hot tub time is in order. A change of pace or escape into a novel or a movie. Maybe something as simple as listening to your favorite music, dinner with friends or family, playing with kids (yours or the neighbors'), or dancing. Perhaps a quiet chat with your significant other or a close friend, or a few moments of solitude while you listen to the sounds of silence (a luxury in our noise-filled culture).
If the truth be told, it's often easier to take care of others than it is to take care of yourself. And in all the hustle and bustle of your daily work, it's often the norm to forget to nurture your own body and mind. You convince yourself your crazy schedule is OK, you have to do it this way, and you'll take a vacation after all the work gets done and when you have some spare time.
So, because you really matter, promise yourself you'll go a little more lightly and take better care of yourself today. It’s only when we refill our own pitchers that we have the energy to serve others.
Sharon Bowman is the author of "The Ten-Minute Trainer" and "Training from the BACK of the Room." Log onto her Website at www.Bowperson.com for more free tips and articles. She will speak February 11 on "Going Lightly! Terrific Tips to Lighten Your Daily Load."