During a recent evening out, a close friend suggested the concept of “self-preservation” as it relates to both personal and business matters. She went to some effort to point out that I could devote a little more time to examining my own needs as should every smart person in today’s business culture. I stared, taken aback, across the table at this person asserting her opinions as if she knows me. Ok, she actually does know me. But admittedly, my initial reaction to her slant was a little judgy. How selfish of any adult, parent, or business woman (or man) to think of his or her own needs first, right? I was raised in a home where we were taught to put others first, do more than our share, embrace moderate martyrdom.
How was I to reconcile my own definition of selfishness with her counsel? Did I even want to?
Because I value her opinion, and consider myself to be open-minded (most of the time), I didn’t brush off the conversation. Reluctantly gave it quite a bit of consideration, in fact. Turns out she has a point. Insert eye roll.
And a change of heart.
Self-preservation, reframed as preparedness for a softer touch, couldn’t be a more relevant tool in both personal and professional success. Every meeting, coffee, presentation, phone call and introduction requires some degree of preparedness to ensure the desired effect is achieved.
Example: Meeting + Materials and Research = Preservation of what I expect from the meeting and a step toward realizing goals through smart execution. Best practices deliberately put in play to effectuate progress. Progress feeds success. Success = Goals Realized.
None of this is to say that self-preservation shouldn’t embrace a little of what eggs us all on. Why bring a new company to market if not for success? Preparedness is the insurance policy we purchase when we call on the experts to guide us through that endeavor. The right deck, business plan, coaching, board members- all elements we employ in preparation for success. But aren’t those pieces of personal self-preservation as well? Don’t they each in their own way present who we are and what we intend to accomplish? This girl thinks so.
To disconnect the personal from the business entirely simply wouldn’t be possible. Ideally, we get up, embrace the day in a way that facilitates the best odds for success in relationships with family, co-workers, friends and business acquaintances, and we return to that state each night, preparing for the next day’s success. There is a motivation that helps us rise in the morning and shut it down at night, and yes, it’s called self-preservation and it’s not selfish at all.