How To Be Number One

– Posted in: Employee Wellbeing

Where do you stand in the order of priorities in your life?

First in the queue? Last in line? No idea?

Whenever you are in a plane taxiing on the runway, the cabin crew always says that you must put on your own mask first, before you put on anyone else’s, including children, because you cannot do anything or help anyone if you don’t have any air to breathe…

Doesn’t it feel like that sometimes in life?

When you are in the middle of it all and have demands coming straight at you from all angles – your manager, colleagues, clients, friends, family or even strangers? This rule or rather ‘life lesson’ of ‘putting your mask on first’ is so important and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense inside and outside the plane.


Take this rule with you when you exit the plane and apply it to your life.

After decades of storing a bulk collection of oxygen masks for others, I never really had one for myself, and it took me a long time to recognise that putting myself at number 1 is not selfish, it’s necessary. I was the ‘go-to’ person for business with my team, the agony aunt for my friends and family in my role as a career woman, social entrepreneur, friend, sister, aunt, godmother; the list goes on…

Shift your mindset to a new belief.

I’ve since learned to apply this rule outside of the plane to my life and fit my mask first, so I know how difficult it is to shift your mindset and realise the importance of having your oxygen mask in place first.

As a leader in your life, to your colleagues in the office and a role model in your personal environment to your loved ones, you are copying behaviour that will impact those around you directly.

So, where is your mask? Is it attached and in place?

You cannot give out what you don’t have.

So take time out for yourself to rejuvenate and relax, and others will see you as the balanced person. By doing that, you are effectively ensuring that everyone else will benefit.

Give yourself the permission to put yourself first.

First thing in the morning, set yourself up for success both mentally and physically. Start each day as you mean to go on. We know instinctively that taking time for yourself provides a massive return even if it’s as little as taking as few minutes as recommended in The Little Black eBook of Career Success where we suggest you schedule the first 15 minutes of the day when you wake up, as precious time for you (before reaching out for your mobile devices).

Whether you use that ‘me time’ to do something specific such as exercise to lighten your mood and in turn, reading a book that might stimulate thought or provide solutions for a business or personal challenge you may be facing, or simply sit in silence and practice mindfulness, the choice is yours, and the options are endless.

This ‘me’ time gives you a real sense of perspective and allows you to rejuvenate and de-stress which means you’ll be happier and more balanced as you approach your day in a fresh way with purpose.

Make a smart move.

So if we get all these health benefits from taking some time out, why don’t we do it more often? ‘I feel guilty or selfish’ or ‘I don’t know how to’ is one of the common responses. Now is the perfect time to move yourself to the top of your priority list which includes learning to say no and practicing smart time management. It is not a selfish move; it is a smart move because having a happy and healthy you positively impacts your world!

‘I just don’t have the time.’

We weren’t born with equal opportunities but time is the only aspect of life in which we are all equal. We all have the same amount of time. Whether you’re a graduate or CEO, you get 24 hours per day.

If you don’t put yourself first, don’t expect anyone else to put you first either.

When our high performing clients arrive at our doorstep, it’s often at the stage of burnout when they are the lowest priority on everyone’s list and importantly their list too. Don’t become one of those people.

Start now

…with your personalised ritual and then protect your ‘me time’ every day just as you protect your most important meetings.

The best way to grow and nurture any relationship in your life is by spending time with that person. How about the relationship with yourself? How much time do you apportion to spending time focused on you?

So, the next time you are on a plane and the cabin crew remind you to put your oxygen mask on first, smile and know that you’ve already established this habit which serves you, protects you and allows you to help those around you in the best way.

Start today. Start now: you are number 1 in your life.

Are you guilty of feeling guilty at the thought of placing yourself at number 1 in your life?

For me, it’s an ongoing practice to be number one in my life. I remember years ago being asked this question and I listed a bunch of people, and then it dawned on me that I didn’t even feature.  This is a common theme in our world.

Comment below and share honestly where you are currently featured in priority order in your life right now.  To your high flying career success!

Nis Arend, Founder – The Corporate Confidante

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