We all talk about priorities as though we can have many things that are most important. There’s only one thing
that can be first in your life. You might fool yourself into thinking that you can put both your job and your family first, but it’s impossible. Priority means, ‘the one thing that is most important.’ It’s both mathematically impossible and grammatically incorrect to claim to have more than one priority.
So, given that you can have only one priority, I suggest that neither your job nor your family should be first. You should be first. You should always be your priority.
Putting yourself first does not come easily to some people. It’s hard, especially for women, to feel that they deserve to take priority over their family. It’s hard, especially for men, to feel that they deserve to take priority over the task of breadwinning.
It’s doubly hard for working women and single parents because they feel they must put both their employer and their family first.
Only one thing can be first. Here’s why that one thing must be you.
“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”
Here’s how I interpret the wisdom of Jim Rohn:
You are yourself all of the time. You are only your job while you’re at work, while you’re working for that employer, or during the years of your career, whether you’re working for yourself or someone else.
To work harder on your job means to put more importance on how others want to use your time and talent than how you want to use your time and your talent for yourself, your family and those you love.
When you’re willing to forgo what is important to you in favor of what is important to others, you’re violating your personal boundaries. Only when you maintain respect for your boundaries will others respect them too.
Make You Your Priority
To work harder on yourself means to make sure you keep time in your life for your yourself. Don’t confuse it with being selfish. To be able to give to others, you have to first give to yourself.
Putting yourself first means that you take care of yourself. It’s as important to plan these things as it is to plan your work. Put time on your calendar to:
- Exercise or be physically active
- Engage in a hobby
- Learn or experience new things
- Sleep sufficiently
- Spend with family (beyond basic care-taking)
- Be with friends.
Commit to Your Priority
Neither does working harder on yourself mean you should be hard on yourself. When you start looking at your life with an eye toward self-improvement, it can be easy to start to feel like there’s not much that’s good enough. You have a lot of good in you.
Pick two things that are somewhat related, one that feels like a quick win and one that might take more time to get used to doing consistently.
For instance, your quick win might be to go to bed 30 minutes earlier every night. You will feel like a new person by the end of the first week. To get more sleep though, you will have to give up something else.
So, to keep your commitment to go to bed each night 30 minutes earlier than you do now, you need to also look at how you need to rearrange your schedule to do 210 minutes (3.5 hours) less of something else in a week.
It might mean you need to say ‘no’ to certain volunteer activities, and saying ‘no’ or letting go of being in charge is hard for you. Do you need to get off of a committee? Do your children or spouse need to take on more of the household chores? Yes, housework and yard work are volunteer activities and you have volunteered for them whether someone directly asked you or you assumed them to be yours to do. Decide what you need to say ‘no’ to and then have that conversation with your committee or organization or family.
Remember Why You are the Priority
The kind of life you make for yourself doesn’t come from the money you earn or the job title or status you achieve at work. The kind of life you make for yourself comes from the everyday things. It comes from how you relate to others, the enjoyment you feel from the things you do, and the memories you create for yourself and with others.
What do you want to be known and remembered for?
Live Honest, Open and True
Keep yourself as your priority so that you have the inner resources to give to your relationships with others. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the false belief that you must always do more for your employer or your work at the expense of taking care of yourself. Only when you take care of yourself can you take care of your relationships. I believe in you and want the best for you and know you can achieve the best for yourself.
Would you share this post?
Tweet: Live your own life by working harder on yourself than on your job. A blog post by D’Anne Hotchkiss
What about you? Do you work harder at your job than you do on yourself? How will you shift your focus? Tell me about it in the comments or tweet me @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!