Recently, I walked into a meeting with 4 other managers over 20 minutes late. Following the meeting while chatting with the other managers, I apologized for my tardiness. I was reminded of the Kevin Hart skit entitled “Deebra.” If you haven’t watched the skit, you really should. It is a roller coaster of emotions using humor to come up with this outlandish reason as to why he was 5 minutes late to work. I had two choices in that moment to invent my own “Deerbra” or own up to the fact that well…I just didn’t manage myself very well. I did the Compass thing, the thing of integrity, the right thing: I owned up to actions.
Sometimes, especially when surrounded by others you respect and want to leave a great impression on, it can be difficult to “fess” up to when you don’t manage yourself very well. However, managing yourself in general is a difficult task. I wear a lot of hats in my life: single mom of 4, manager of over 40 clients and 5 staff, Elk’s Club Member, nurse, and community and kindness activist. I get asked almost weekly, “How do you manage it all?” Want to know a secret? The answer is, “Sometimes, not very well.”
There are days I forget an important deadline, or get a text from my mom saying I forgot to drop off the kids with some essential… like both shoes. Then, there are days where I transform lives, have a home-cooked gourmet meal ready by 6, and have bed time stories read by 8pm. Regardless of what happens on any given day, the only thing I can control is myself. It doesn’t matter if emergencies happen, I have a sick little one, or even if my car has a flat tire. All that matters is that I am able to manage myself. While it may be difficult, the better I manage myself, the easier my life is and the happier I am with my life.
How does one effectively manage themselves? There are many great answers to that question, but I would love to share with you my top three nuggets of success. First, instead of sitting around letting things happen to you, stand up and make things happen. Planning, making lists and utilizing a calendar are all important ways to ensure you are in control of your time and energy. Take time before binge watching the latest season of your favorite show to plan for the next day – just 15 minutes a day of planning can save hours and days of headaches down the road.
Next, when we are too busy to even breathe between meetings, appointments and assignments, usually the first thing to go is taking care of yourself. Self care is like CPR to the busy life. How many times at Compass have you heard the phrase, “You can’t give away what you don’t have”? It’s true. You can’t give away patience when you have none. You can’t give away joy if you have none. You definitely can’t give away love if you don’t love yourself. When I say “self-care”, I don’t mean a luxury vacation to the Bahamas.
If you can afford that and have the time then you go ahead and check that bad boy off your bucket list. But for me, self-care is the 15 minutes I take to go for a walk without my phone, or the bath I take every Wednesday night when my kids are at Gammie’s, or even as simple as taking the scenic route home while blasting some Pink. Whatever it takes to rejuvenate, plan it, commit to it, and do it.
Finally, probably the hardest part of managing yourself is giving yourself some grace. You’re going to forget something every once in awhile, and it’s not the end of the world. You are going to have to say, “No,” even though it kills you because you just don’t have the time. You are going to gain 5 pounds despite sticking to your diet every day this week. Life is an adventure not a destination. You don’t get bonus points because you figured out life the fastest.
A few years ago I stopped watching the news. Every time I turned it on, it focused on a problem and that just didn’t sit well with me. Instead, I wanted to learn about people. I replaced that time with reading the blog, “Humans of New York.” It’s an amazing series of a man interviewing people and asking them to be vulnerable. Those stories have demonstrated to me over the years that life is going to throw some really hard obstacles your way, but it’s how you deal with those obstacles that matters the most.
So, how do you manage yourself when it is difficult to do so? Gracefully love yourself into making things happen and you’ll be just fine.