When Ken Blanchard and Don Shula’s book Everyone’s A Coach was released, professional coaches took umbrage. Some among us thought Well, that’s just not true. Not everyone is a coach. But over the years, I have come to see that anyone who is in the business of helping and serving others really can benefit by thinking of themselves as a coach.
I recently was reminded of this concept and why it is important when working with a client who runs her own business providing direction and support for people signing up for Medicare. I told her “You are like a coach—and you have to take care of yourself the way a coach does.”
No matter if you are a coach, manager, doctor, therapist, minister, or another type of service provider, when you put yourself in service to others you give and give all day long. But whether or not you are actually “in service” is really a point of view. My client didn’t see herself as a service provider until I pointed it out to her after she told me about the uncompensated hours she spends helping her clients understand their insurance options and how to make the best decisions for themselves.
Extreme Self Care
When you give all day long, you have to take care of yourself. The source must be replenished. One of my longtime coaches and mentors, Shirley Anderson, coined the term extreme self care.
For a coach, practicing extreme self care is an absolute must—if you don’t do it, you will burn out. How do you know when you’ve reached burnout? It’s easy. You feel angry—at clients, coworkers, vendors, your boss. You find yourself having rude thoughts about fellow drivers on the road. You honk at the slowpoke in the parking lot at the grocery store. Before you reach this point, stop and take stock. Ask yourself: How can I engage in extreme self care?
Extreme self care can show up in the tiniest ways: take a five-minute break at work, walk to the cooler and refill your water glass. Stop and roll around on the floor with the dog for a few minutes before you rush to the kitchen to get dinner going. Turn off your phone for a half hour while you eat dinner.
7 Ways to Get Started
Extreme self care is defined differently by each person, but here are some good places to start:
- Food: Everyone knows what foods make them feel great and what foods make them feel awful. Eat what makes you feel great—and know how often you have to eat.
- Sleep: Only need four hours a night? I’m so jealous. These days I need at least seven, preferably eight, to feel my best.
- Exercise: I know many folks who won’t do anything unless they can get their class or their run in. Just move as much as you can.
- Prayer, reflection, meditation: Take time to simply tune in, stop the noise, and unplug.
- Rest and relaxation: Do whatever makes you feel replenished.
- Connection time: Spend time with loved ones, family, and friends—not out of obligation, just because you adore them.
- Fun: Anything you can do that raises your spirits and makes you smile is fun. Have some every day.
Listen to That Inner Voice
You know what to do to take better care of yourself—and it isn’t necessarily something your inner voice says you should do, like eat your vegetables or go to the gym. The voice to listen to is the one that says take a little break; go to bed early; use a sick day and take the dog to the woods; go play golf; use that Starbucks gift card that’s been sitting in your wallet. It’s true that some folks listen to that voice a little too much and never get anything done—but if you’re still reading, that probably isn’t you.
Who do you need to ask for permission? Hmmmm. Look in the mirror today and allow yourself to engage in some extreme self care.
About the Author
Madeleine Blanchard is the co-founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.