You Can’t Give From an Empty Well

nourish – transitive v. To provide with food or other substances necessary for life and growth; feed.

  • to foster the growth or development of;

Earlier this week I posted about taking good care of yourself, making time and getting organized so you can nourish yourself.  It is crucial to prioritize what is most important to you.  I realized early in life, and especially when I became a single parent, how crucial it was to put myself first in order to have enough energy to meet all of my responsibilities.  I began my business 32 years ago and became a single parent at the same time.  I remember standing in a group of young mothers one time and saying that it was important to put your needs first, in order to better meet the needs of your family.  It got heated, everyone pretty much went in to attack mode…saying that kids come first…no matter what!  I disagreed, still do.

You cannot give from an empty well.  In our culture, women are taught to put others first, to nurture, to always be available emotionally. But this takes a toll, both emotionally and physically. I am NOT saying to be self centered, to but your needs way above others. But being selfish means meeting your needs as well as others…and that takes energy and patience.  We have those when we are mature, well rested, fulfilled. 

What that takes is learning to say NO!  It is an acquired skill, we have to practice it, hone it.  Let’s face it, we all want to be liked, to be accepted, to please people.  But we cannot do so at our own expense.

This is especially true when we run our own businesses, have busy careers.

Here’s the scene: you’re busy as all heck working your buns off.

Through your blood, sweat and tenacity — you’ve gained a lot of experience and expertise.  Things are really starting to come together.  Everyone you know is taking notice, but unfortunately…

You’re now drowning in constant requests from friends who want to “have coffee and pick your brain.”

But the truth is…You don’t have time for coffee right now.  You don’t want to have your brain picked.  And, if you did, you’d wanna get paid for it!

If you’re tired of ignoring these emails and feeling guilty about it, here are some ways to handle it;

  • When a friend calls and asks to pick your brain or a prospective client wants to p[ick your brain you can ask, “Do you want to become a client or do you just have a quick question.
  • When someone wants to interview you or pick your brain..refer them to your blog or list of services or ask them if they would like to book a consultation.  Refer them to the info and payment methods on your business site.
  • Tell them that would be great and to pick a payment method.

I am a Chef and Nutrition Coach.  I cannot tell you how often people call or email to ask if they can pick my brain about how I started my business, can I email a recipe, what are my recommendations for cookware, knives, brands of food.  Twice this month I have received looong emails from college students asking me to answer their list of questions as to how I run my business.  I get friends asking me to help them research and buy phones and computers. 

And a never ending list of requests, mostly from perfect strangers, asking how to heal, how to go gluten free.  People want to tell me how they eat, ask for advice…many times while I am out socially. or while I am working.  People ask me to give speeches, lectures…mostly for free!

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE helping people heal, motivating others, BUT I NEED TO MAKE A LIVING.  And I need to time to do yoga, sit in the sun, enjoy my children and friends…in other words..live my life.

So practice saying no. Ask yourself what you really want.  Use a goal setting method (I personally have used the Covey method for 22 years and LOVE IT), and stick to it.

Plan YOUR time first, then plan work and family stuff.  Find balance by putting yourself first..it leads to happiness and you’ll be more productive!



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