Put Yourself First To Be Selfless

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Put YOURSELF first to be selfLESS? Such a contradiction, right? I mean, it goes against everything that we’ve been taught.

How HORRIBLE of you to think of yourself first! Do you realize how much more helpful you could be if you devoted more time to others? Instead of taking that run, or working on that project, you could be helping others in greater need than yourself.


I got fired up about this yesterday as I was listening to my brother-in-law’s interview down in Tampa about Caregiving (he’s written a book about it, and even has a great website; I’ve placed the promo video at the end of this post for you to get a better idea of the power of love that he shares with my sister). Well into the interview, the radio host asks him to talk about some caregiver tips (he’s got 70 great ones in the book), and the tip he shares is that caregivers have to take care of themselves. He then goes one step further and says that, even before the caregiver takes care of the patient, s/he has to take care of him/herself FIRST.

First! I couldn’t believe he said that on the radio, as the sole purpose of caregiving was to be there for the patient, first and foremost.

But after thinking about it for a few hours, it started to really make sense to me. How in the world can I take care of another individual, if I don’t first take care of myself? In the end, is it worth it if the caregiver falls ill from such personal neglect? ONE- where does that help the patient? and TWO- nobody asked you to sacrifice your life for that person.

I’m just 10 days away from my next 5K, and when I went on my run today (after not running for a few days), I realized how out of sync I had become in those days that I did not run. I neglected myself, and my mood dipped, I couldn’t be there for my kids like I had been just a week ago, and I started feeling less confident, insecure, and self-doubting about a lot of issues. Talk about HORRIBLE!

One run, though — one hour to take care of myself — and everything is rebooted. I feel great, my social interactions with my family have improved immediately, and I’m looking forward to working harder on a few projects that I’m in the middle of creating.

Why did I not run those last few days?

It’s a contagious, flesh-eating monster, I tell you. For all of you Little Shop Of Horrors fans out there, it was feeding Audrey II, and the more I did NOT take care of myself, the happier and bigger that monster got. The negativity, the diminishing effort to accomplish my goals, the stronger desire to eat more, work less…. Yeah, Audrey II was being fed a bunch of soul-sucking trash that was making me feel absolutely worthless.

The reason why I didn’t run is because I had “other things to do” that were creative in nature. I rationalized and said that this was BALANCE, this was feeding the muse, this was satisfying both the spiritual and the physical.

My daughter scoops less manure when mucking the stalls every weekend when she is at the farm.

Bottom line: If your workload is too much that you can’t take time out for yourself, then your workload is too heavy, and you got to cut something out. Simple as that. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is more important to you than keeping in shape, taking good care of yourself, and staying on top of YOUR game, whatever that game might be.

Then, and only then, can you truly be selfless for others. Only then can you be there when they need you, and in ways that don’t make you feel like you are sacrificing your life for theirs. It’s not about that folks. Never was, and never will be.

This is YOUR life. Love it. Live it. Give it.

No excuses!

Ok– Here’s the video promoting my brother-in-law’s book. It’s bigger than that, though. You’ll see. Music is by the wonderfully talented Pattie Lin. Pattie, you are the best.

A Special Appeal To My Readers

To all of my followers and readers, I have a special request. This one comes from a very personal spot in my heart that I share with my sister Cindy, who has been battling cancer since 1990.

Her husband and my brother-in-law, Rob Harris, has written a book about his 20+ years as her caregiver, and it is soon to be released. Below is the link to receive a sneak peek at the opening chapters of the book, and to receive exclusive updates and information about the release of the print and digital versions of the book.

But first, I want to tell you a little about each of them.

My sister Cindy is one of those few people in the world who, despite every challenging trial and tribulation that she has had thrown at her these last two decades, is always with an energetic smile, a love for life, and a belief in living in the present. Six years my elder, she has been that ideal role model that few siblings ever have. In all things dealing with life, love, courage, and faith, she is my rock.

Her husband, Rob, has done a magnificent job caring for her all these years because, well, he is just as special. But he is also brutally honest, and in his book, he has the courage to share with the world his own challenges and struggles that he faced while caring for Cindy.

In other words, he has written a very humbling, yet uplifting book about the love they have shared, the struggles they have faced, and the knowledge they have gained along the way. He offers 70 “Caregiver Tips” that provide practical guidance to help those who are also caregiving, regardless if it is for a spouse, friend, family member, or loved one. As well, these Caregiver Tips are not exclusive to helping patients battling cancer; they are generic enough so that any caregiver can benefit from them.

Even if you are not a caregiver, this love story is a must-read for you and for others. It is also a good gift for others you may know who find themselves in the caregiving role.  Simply put, it’s a book for everyone – now and for many generations to come.

Here is the link to sign up for the free excerpt and the updates for his book release:


Rob has a very active website for caregivers, robcares.com, and I recommend you stop there after you’ve signed up to receive your free excerpt. His weekly blog posts are informative, and he has dozens, if not hundreds, of caregiving resources available on his various pages.

I am so grateful Rob has shared his experiences with all of us. I hope you take a moment to download the excerpt and read their story. In all ways, I am very grateful.

My best to you,