As children, we learn the letters before we learn to read and write.
A student of music learns the notes and practices scales before learning how to play songs.
It’s a process: we start with a foundation and build from there.
Yet when it comes to our work, we often learn it backwards: we learn the ins and outs of how to do our job, but rarely do we learn how to create a foundation to make it sustainable.
I’m not talking about the basics of prospecting and making sales calls, how to organize your notes and projects, or how to handle email. All are certainly a type of foundational skill, and important.
But there’s something more more fundamental:
The foundation of self-care.
At least for me, everything I learned in my years of school and in the early part of my career was about how to work harder.
We learn early in life the importance of brushing our teeth and taking showers. But we don’t learn how to practice self-care as a foundational practice.
I didn’t really learn about self-care as a foundational practice until after I had been hit with illness and burnout.
Our conditioning around self-care is that it’s a reward for a job well-done, the after-party for accomplishment.
If we want to change our culture of burnout and depletion we must start talking about self-care as a foundational practice.
Self-care practices are not things to do when we have time or when the project is over. We cannot procrastinate caring for our bodies, minds, and souls.
The fact is, we cannot adequately serve others if we are depleted. We cannot show up fully for our work if we have nothing in the tank.
These practices are the foundation of the work we do. They are the letters of the alphabet or the musical scales or the brushing of teeth.
They make the other work possible.
Your care for others
Must rest on this foundation:
Care for yourself first