Merge's Blog

Good leaders always put on their own oxygen mask first

oxygen maskI’m sure you’ve heard the standard airplane safety commentary about the oxygen mask:

“In the event of a cabin depressurization, oxygen masks will automatically drop from the overhead compartment. Please pull a mask towards you and place it completely over your nose and mouth, securing the elastic band over your head. Please secure your own mask first before assisting others.”

The reason for the last sentence?  It is, of course, because you cannot be of any assistance to others if you are incapacitated yourself.  Which is a good message to consider in all arenas of your life.  No matter what you’re doing – at work, at home, at play – it’s important to put on your own “oxygen mask” before assisting others.

Often in difficult and stressful situations, we take the problems of the world upon us, and thus only heighten our own level of anxiety. As a result, we are unable to operate calmly or communicate effectively.  The result: we often just worsen the situation instead of resolving it.  So don’t fall in to the stress trap of worrying about others – staff, loved ones, colleagues – without ensuring that your own emotional foundation is solid. Take care of yourself first, and then you will be much better equipped to handle the situation, and any difficult people or circumstances that come with it!

I’d love to know your take on this.  Are you good at putting on your own “oxygen mask” before you help others?  Do you have any tips to look after yourself first?  Please share your thoughts by adding your comment below.

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