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Apply your oxygen mask first

20161012 cabin oxygen maskWe hear this every time we get on a plane “Apply your oxygen mask first, before helping young children and others.”  It is important that we take care of ourselves, and put on our oxygen mask first, then and only then we can help others.  If we do not follow this simple procedure, we have the potential to become a burden on those around us.

Do you apply your oxygen mask first? 

As leaders, we constantly put ourselves last, and this can be the appropriate thing to do at times, but not ALL the time.  Putting ourselves first is particularly challenging when we have to juggle the needs of our work team and also our home team.  When as the Captain of both of these teams, do you apply your oxygen mask first?

Really good leaders, that I have coached and worked with do this consistently.  They make it a non-negotiable, like the airlines, when they WILL apply their oxygen mask first.  Their focus and resilience is amazing, because they are taking care of themselves.  They are having the time to switch off, recharge their batteries, and then come back to what is important.

Applying your oxygen mask – correctly

I appreciate that it can be easier said than done, to put yourself first.  There is that in-built piece of us, that says the team (work or home, or both), must come first.  If you have not put yourself first for a while, start with small time commitments and then build up from there.

It could be as easy as having a cup of coffee on your own, with your favourite book, three times a week.  This can be done within 15 minutes, which is just 45 minutes for the whole week.  Then progressively build from there.

For me, it is a daily fitness work out during the week, and a game of golf with friends on Saturday.  Not every week do I achieve these personal activities, which is fine, however, 90% of the time I do.  Importantly, I really notice it when I do not get to “apply my oxygen mask first”.

How often to you apply your oxygen mask first?

Cheers, Andrea



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