By Candy Barone
As a leader, how many times have you found yourself in a position where others deem you selfish for putting your needs first, making decisions they don’t understand, or going against the grain?
Or maybe, you have found yourself feeling selfish for taking time off, taking on a new project, going back to school, leaving your company, or changing directions and setting new goals. How many times have you secretly beat yourself up for being selfish, or have internalized others chastising you in the same vain? Probably more times than you can count.
I am hear to tell you that there is a difference between being selfish and being, what I call, “self-ful.” It all comes down to your intent and your purpose.
Being selfish is the act of making decisions in spite of others, with no regard for consequences, no sense of purpose or responsibility for your actions. And often, being selfish is simply a way to warrant instant gratification. Selfish comes from a place of fear, insecurity and lack of accountability.
Real leaders, though, know how to differentiate between being selfish versus being “self-ful”. Because being “self-ful” is the act of filling your cup first. Leaders know that in order to truly show up authentically and serve others, they must have their cups full or overflowing first.
Point being, you cannot serve what you don’t have replenished. If you are only scraping out the residual effects left in the well, then all you are able to serve is all the crap, and all the fear, and all the anxiety to your teams, family and clients.
As an analogy, I have my clients imagine a well that is no longer being replenished with fresh, clean water. Then I ask if they know what happens in that instance. Before the well completely dries out, there is this thick, black, grungy sludge that forms on the bottom of well. So, when you go to take something out of the well to give to others, that icky, tar-like sludge is really what you are offering up.
I don’t know about you, but I believe serving that sludge is what is ultimately selfish.When you don’t take time to serve YOUR needs, replenish YOUR well, and fill YOUR cup, then you are left with nothing but sludge to give anyone else. You can only give 100% if you take time to be at 100%.
So, if your priorities and calendar don’t reflect time for you to recharge, replenish, learn, be challenged and rest, then how do you expect those around you to model the same. This is not a “do as I say, not as I do mentality” (one I remember hearing often growing up … and, actually IS in itself a selfish perspective). Because being a leader means walking the talk you want others to follow. You have the ability and responsibility to influence how others honor and respect themselves.
And it starts with YOU!
The best part is that by demonstrating the power of being ‘self-ful’ you actually will serve your teams and your clients better. Employees will be engaged at a higher level. People will feel connected and energized by the work they do.
The returns you capture will increase. Being ‘self-ful’ impacts your ROI. Clients will feel this love and new level of commitment and respect to the work you stand behind. And, it all impacts YOUR bottom line.
I came across a great quote the other day that really resonated with me, “True leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders.” Well said and so true!
By showing your people how to be “self-ful” you are:
1) making decisions that are authentic to who you are,
2) are purposeful in how you show up, and
3) are willing to take full responsibility for the choices you make,
THEN you are handing over those tools to help your teams, colleagues and clients empower themselves to play at their highest and best level. True leadership.
My questions to you are:
- Do you want more followers or do you want to create more leaders?
- Are you taking time to fill your cup on a regular basis?
- What would happen if you allowed your cup to be full or overflowing?
- How would you be able to serve more if you decided to be ‘self-ful’?
- Are you willing to do what it takes to be ‘self-ful’ and lead by example.
When you figure out the answers to these questions you may find that some don’t understand, and some think you’re crazy, but those who need you most will step up and being to fill their cup, too!
Make 2016 your year to be ‘self-ful’ and fill your cup first! You will be amazed at what happens as a result.
Because, remember … ROI is a return on investment, not a return on intention.
Originally featured in The OffBeat Business Magazine January 2016 issue.
Candy Barone, YOU Empowered Strong, LLC
Candy Barone, CEO & Founder, You Empowered Strong
“Your Pull-No-Punches Accountability Powerhouse”
International Speaker, Business Strategist, Executive Coach & Trainer, Best-selling Author