Start With I

We all know the saying there is no “I” in team. We’re told not to be selfish. We’re encouraged to focus on others. Women, especially, can find themselves putting everyone else’s needs in front of their own because we are born to nurture – it is innate in us – and we are afraid of being seen as selfish. But there’s something fundamentally wrong when we never put ourselves first. We can’t be the best for everyone else when we don’t take care of ourselves and our own needs.

Sometimes, we have to start with I:

I know I feel valuable when…

I want to accomplish…

I started this company because…

I know I can…

I don’t feel comfortable with…

I need…

I expect…

When we “start with I” we can identify what we need, what we like and don’t like, and how we stay motivated. We can set clear goals, expectations and boundaries. We can discover our purpose. We can then better communicate this to important people in our life: spouses, friends, children, bosses, colleagues, business partners. When we communicate what our tolerances are, what we need and what we believe we can give, relationships are healthier and ideally, happier.

startwithiThere is nothing wrong with saying, “I need this” or “I want this in my life,” or “I don’t want this in my life.” Oscar Wilde said “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” Starting with I is not selfish – it is clearly stating your expectations and how you want to live, and giving others the choice to be a part of that or not. It is accepting friendships, romance and business relationships that align with your values. Starting with I is often courageous – it can go against our gut feeling that focusing on ourselves is wrong. It is giving and communicative. It improves relationships and mental well being and can eliminate stress. Starting with I is the setting of boundaries, expectations and goals and ensuring that you’re surrounding yourself with like minded people who can appreciate or even admire them. It is generous and wise to let others know what you expect.

Work every day to become comfortable with starting with I. Embrace it as the best starting point to your best life and best relationships. Mind you, I said start with I. It doesn’t mean to solely focus on just yourself but rather that you know yourself, that you trust yourself, and that you’re honest with yourself – and with others – about what you want and need and what your life direction is. Only then can you begin to focus on enveloping others into the life you want to build in a healthy and mutually beneficial manner.

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