Putting on your Oxygen Mask First
Jan 14, 2022
Business Growth DISCiples

The inimitable Em Melrose is back in the Mothership and we asked her to write a short blog on something that she is thinking about this January. She rose, as she always does, to the challenge and gives us something to think about.   

When do you put on your oxygen mask?   

I like to be of service to others and knowing that I have been able to help and support people brings me joy.   

I don’t want to change that, BUT the reality is I can feel resentful, stretched, and unappreciated at times. It doesn’t bring out the best of me and my life is far too precious to continue feeling this way.  

I am reading Brene Brown’s recent book “Atlas of the Heart”, it’s acting like a therapy book for me right now and it has been a catalyst to hit my personal pause button and invest in some self-reflect time.   

On page 43 she says “…when we develop expectations, we paint a picture in our head of how things are going to be and how they are going to look” … She goes on to talk about a situation with her husband.  It was like a flashing neon sign shouting “LOOK AT ME” and for me, it is something that might be worth exploring a bit further. 

Honestly, how often do you STOP and take time out for yourself?   

It got me thinking about the flight safety briefing, we hear something like “put your own oxygen mask on before you help others”.  

If we take this as a metaphor, it might look something like – If I can’t breathe how can I help you to breathe? I’m no use to you if I haven’t taken care of myself first.   

I need to understand what keeps my own fuel tank full if I am going to be able to feed my joy and be of value to others.   

Whilst reading the book the penny dropped. It was often my own expectations that had a part to play in draining my battery.  Expectations about how I am perceived within society and striving to avoid letting others down.  Now that I can see it, I can make a conscious decision about how I want to make some changes to my behaviour.  I absolutely know it’s going to take some effort and I accept I will feel a bit uncomfortable, but I have put my oxygen mask on first. 

Life will constantly throw us challenges and our tanks don’t all need the same fuel. However, I feel I can safely say, that if you are looking for someone else to top up your tank, they’re likely to fill it with their own fuel (aka needs). So, time to own your own tank!  

It’s through developing self-awareness that we can learn to spot our own signs and develop our ability to choose a different response. Simply put, keep your tank topped up with the stuff that meets your needs. 

It’s vital that I carve time out to STOP and reflect on what’s going on for me, putting on my oxygen mask.  I used to feel that I was being selfish, but I have reframed this into a productive thought. It enables me to check in with myself, how I am feeling and ask if I am consistently bringing my best self to others.    

If you are curious to learn more, why not come and join us at one of our DISClive shows where, in a safe environment, we share insight on how our behavioural style impacts the quality of the life WE choose to live.

A big thank you to Em – If you haven’t booked a one on one virtual cuppa with her yet – what are you waiting for? Do It!