Put the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First…..

Posted on : 01-06-2006 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized


In various 12-step programs they often use the following analogy about what the flight attendants instruct us to do in case of a sudden lack of oxygen. They ask us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first and then on the child or person who needs our help next (because we would be of no help to anyone if we passed out first due to lack of oxygen).  We can take these same instructions and apply them to ourselves whether we are the CEO, Executive or Administrator of a company.  In spite of ourselves, we may have been able to get one heckuva lot of stuff accomplished by sheer grit and determination, but at some point we’re going to have to pay the piper in one way or another. There’s always a cost.  It could show up in our profit margins, it could show up in how our employees (or employers, or co-workers or Board) responds to us or it could show up in how we feel inside when we go home at night after a long day’s work. In Bill Barren’s blog he responds to the question “how can we show and act our belief’s through our action of how we lead our lives?” with several ideas including that 
“We can commit to our businesses being more than about profit”. That’s a mighty tall order for those people that are used to running their businesses on a string and a prayer and running at full-tilt boogey, sliding under the end-of-the-race-ribbon just in the nick of time.  
How happy are you?  What makes you happy?  What makes your heart sing? Do you even recognize that you have a heart? Is it possible for you to both have a heart and a head? Of course it is!  You’re walking around with them both right now, but you just may not be conscious about how you are using (or they are using you) them. If you could look at your life today and look around your office and ponder the idea of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, what is one action step you can commit to today, that will help not only your company, but YOU become healthier and happier. 

 I worked in the IT field for 13 years and one thing that used to just bug the heck out of me were these programmers, and salespeople at the HUGE IT company down the road, who would put in these extreme hours and live these intensely adrenaline charged lives and then die of a sudden heart attack, stroke, etc. at, often times, a very young age.  Was it worth it?  Will anyone remember them because of all the paper they shuffled or code they pushed through?   I did know one Technical Architect, Paul Dyer, who did end up dying of cancer in the later years of his life (I do believe he worked up until the last days!) who thoroughly LOVED every bit of his working life. That’s not who I’m talking about. I daresay Paul looked at what he created through technology in some mystical way that I might never be able to grok.  He loved learning and he loved teaching.  The people I’m talking about are those of us who are pushing through our days pel mel without stopping to ask “what is it all about Alfie?”  Stop and look around and then notice the new frontier for you to explore right inside of yourself. Your world is waiting. 

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