When we first came into this world as infants, we were very focused on having our immediate needs met. Life was simple. With more “socialization”, we began to respond to those around us and our thoughts turned outward. Our parents, friends, and teachers were more interested in finding ways to have us please them than to have us please ourselves and we lost touch with whatever internal guidance system we had. We became more OUTER directed and motivated by the approval and disapproval of others. We started to look for ways to please everyone else and if we made a decision to please ourselves and meet our own needs first, we were labeled as selfish.
As women, we have extra baggage around this issue because society has taught us that as women we should be nurturers. The assumption here is that we need to take care of everyone and make sure that they are happy and healthy and all their needs are met. According to traditional roles, the fact that everyone else is happy should be enough to make us happy because that is our responsibility. If everyone is happy, we are doing our jobs well. Of course, if there is some time after all this is done, it is acceptable to do something for ourselves. Otherwise, we are being SELFISH.
These limiting beliefs have so many implications for women in our society. As more and more women enter the workforce and try to keep their lives in balance, the stress builds. If we believe that we need to please everyone in our families, our relationships, our work place, what then happens to US? How can we do all of this and be successful at work too?
At work, how many times have you taken on other people’s needs or tasks before tending to your own?
How many times have you taken on the work of others with the attitude that “If I don’t do it, who will?”
How many times have you avoided necessary difficult conversations because you did not want to offend someone? You wanted to be well liked.
How many times have you not taken credit for your work well done because you want to be viewed as a team player? Perhaps you don’t even accept compliments graciously.
There have been so many articles, blogs, books written about the necessity for balance in our lives and how important it is to take care of NUMBER ONE. What about taking care of number one at work?
What do we need to do to advance our careers and get credit for the work we’ve done?
Maybe we need to be more focused first on our needs and career path before we take care of everyone else at work.
I would love to hear your comments. Do we need to be more selfish to be successful?