Take care of yourself so you have something to offer. Leaders who have experienced burn out have learned this the hard way. Taking care of self so we can offer our best self starts with self-awareness. Anthony Robbins suggests six human needs according to a recent blog:

  • Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
  • Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
  • Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
  • Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
  • Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
  • Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others

These proposed needs can certainly be debated but from simple observation each seems to have some merit. I enjoy almost everyone’s contribution to learning and discovery but my life’s work is not completely satisfied until the “why” question is wrestled down and forced to say “uncle”. Maybe you are like me. I appreciate the “what” but I need to know the “why”. If these needs are real, why?

Where did they come from? My worldview has been formed by a mosaic of experiences and realities. The experiences come from my life story. The realities reflect my temperament. I’m what we call a rationalist. Logical, somewhat analytical, and always learning. But that’s not all of me. I also feel things and make gut decisions that sometimes go against the odds. What would life be like without some risk, right?

I believe our needs (whatever the exhaustive list might be) come from our design. If you’re not religious or spiritual, please keep reading a bit more. I have no other agenda than to encourage and strengthen you.

If it’s true that humans share much of the same needs and if it’s true those come from the engineering of a Creator, why? In the end, I believe our best self has an emphasis, an attitude, and a posture of giving or serving reflecting the very nature of the artist-creator, God.

I found it interesting that at least four of Tony’s six statements on human need implied giving in one form or another. The other two needs and portions of the remaining implied taking care of one’s self. We cannot separate giving from receiving and we cannot become or sustain a healthy self without the giving of self.

If you’re struggling at work or home, may I suggest a change in thinking? Let’s consider how the following transferable concepts will bring more to your life. More contentment. More success. More value. A life well lived.

Take inventory. Take an inventory of your life. The good, the bad, and the ugly. See the mosaic beauty of your life? How does your experiences, skills, and strengths make you unique? Write it down. Smile. You’re an amazing creation.

Make an offering. I’m going to drill down on this one. If you change your attitude from “What am I getting out of this company, relationship, whatever?” to “What do I have to offer that adds value to the company, the people in my life, and to the situation?” you will change and others will notice.

When you ask questions like “How can I help?” or “How can I serve in this situation?” or “How can I add value?” you will be unstoppable.

I believe the healthy person has a sense of purpose and belonging. Intuitively they know life is a balance of giving and receiving. We cannot give until we have something to give. We cannot give until we have received. But don’t be misled, receiving is not always easy. Arguably, cashing a big pay check is easier than overcoming a difficult childhood; however, even a difficult childhood can provide benefits found in no other way.

Being a person who adds value is less about what you have to offer; it’s more about how you offer what you have. It’s not what you have; it’s what you do with it.

I work with people all the time who constantly feel threat all around them. They compare themselves to others. They wonder why one person has such and such and they don’t. They wonder why they feel left out. They hold grudges. Frankly, they are so threatened, they are missing out on life.

At some point in our lives, we find a healthy balance beyond our most basic needs. We find it through a perspective of offering. To be more direct, your life matters and it increases in value when you offer it in service to others.

My best advice is this: instead of taking an inventory of what is missing in your life, start taking and inventory of what you have. Appreciate the good that you so often overlook. Choose to embrace the tough stuff. Start with what you have. Offer it to God and to those you desire to serve. It will transform your life!

You gotta love it. I was recently invited by a friend to attend an event where Al Pacino would speak about his life experiences. One person in the audience asked him a question: “What’s the best advice you have ever received?” Without hesitation Al threw both hands in the air to emphasis the following gesture: “You gotta love it!”

A picture is worth a thousand words they say. With his words and gesture, Al gave me a picture. No matter your situation, no matter the difficulty, you will do far better if you lean in. If you engage. If you don’t run. If you choose to say, “This is my situation and I will take it head on.” In other words, “I choose to love it.” Great advice!


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