Which gift will you give to yourself?

I was chatting with my close friend and mentor Jen the other week. I asked how she was doing and she said:

“I’ve started to gift myself an earlier start to the day in order to get more pre-work goodness in and I think it’s helping”

I thought it was such a beautiful and insightful way of looking at it; to gift yourself an earlier start. So often we think of doing things like getting up early as a chore. However,  a small change of perspective provides us with something unexpected – something to treasure, to look forward to.

This week is half term in Cambridgeshire and I had been looking at it from the perspective of having to arrange playdates, trying to avoid taking clients or getting up even earlier to work. A different way to look at it is extra time with my kids, who were instrumental in the decision for me to become self employed. Or to consider it a break for me too – to enjoy my time not working as much, getting outdoors and doing fun things. We all deserve a break. Yet, how many of us take one?

We do a lovely exercise at the end of group coaching sessions where we go around the table and give each person a gift e.g. “I give you the gift of confidence to know that you are enough”. Here are 10 gifts you can give yourself this week:

  • Rest – you can do anything, but not everything – what will you choose to do? Perhaps a digital detox? 10 minutes of meditation? reading your favourite book? a nap? Leaving work on time? The possibilities are endless.
  • Uncertainty – everything changes and control is an illusion. Once you give yourself permission to go with the flow the easier things become and life becomes more effortless.
  • Purpose – in life and importantly in your career. We spend so much of our time working wouldn’t it be nice to do something meaningful? Align your career with your values and you will reap the benefits (and so will your employer)
  • Open up – get someone to really listen to what you have to say and speak freely. A professional or a friend it doesn’t matter as long as they hold the space for you to talk, reflect, cry, laugh – whatever you need.
  • Authenticity – Be secure in knowing that you are amazing. Give yourself the gift of knowing who you really are and understanding that although not everyone will like you, there are many who will love you. Those people will think you are awesome.
  • Kindness – to yourself and to others. Kindness is the gift that keeps on giving.
  • Failure – if we never failed we would never learn. We focus on the success and the outcomes but we forget the importance of learning from our mistakes. When we ‘fail’ we can try again but with new information or we can change direction. Either way, we move forwards.
  • Courage to follow your dreams – stuff what anyone else thinks – it’s not their journey. It’s yours so go ahead and follow your heart. Jump in and see what happens. There will be some lessons along the way, they aren’t always easy but they bring a greater understanding and wisdom if you are willing to learn from them.
  • Support – Have the grace to acknowledge when you need help and the humility to ask for it. We all need help from time to time and it’s why our tribe is so important – to have people we trust to help us when we need it.
  • Forgiveness – It’s time to release your guilt. You are not defined by your past, a mistake or a choice you’ve made. Neither are you defined by something that has been done unto you. It’s completely different to hold yourself accountable than to chastise yourself until you can’t look at yourself in the eye.

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