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Elysia Retreat Blog_ Is it selfish to be selfish

“Don’t come home” was the text that I received from my wife Allison when it looked highly likely that my home state Victoria would go into what was called a circuit-breaker lockdown in late May.  
I did take the opportunity to clarify that it wasn’t a permanent directive, however I was due to travel back from New South Wales to Victoria, and then the week after head to South Australia to start some work with a new Melbourne based client at a leadership offsite. 
That was all now cancelled due to border closures. 
What to do then? 
It didn’t take me long to decide to make a call to head to what I refer to as one of my happy places – The Elysia Wellness Retreat at Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley NSW. 
It’s a place that I have been attending for seven years now as what I refer to as my chance to practice the 4R’s:
Reflect, Relax, Recharge and Reset. 
Should I feel selfish that while my family, friends and fellow Victorians were locked in their houses, I was free to undertake vigorous tailored exercise, daily stretching, meditation with amazing views, have relaxing massages, have my face read, learn about my past and future through astrology, spend time going between the sauna and outside pool for some hot-cold therapy, eat delicious food and sleep for up to nine hours per night and observe the most amazing sunrises and sunsets across the Hunter Valley? 
My simple answer is “NO”.

‘I’m experiencing more and more over the past few months a real conflict arising in the humans I am working with around the concept of being selfish,​…’

What a selfish bastard you might say?  
I’m experiencing more and more over the past few months a real conflict arising in the humans I am working with around the concept of being selfish, and it has to stop.  
It seems that it is particularly an issue for women I have been coaching, who have attended my in-house and public human manager experience. There is a fear that in the eyes of others they will be seen as selfish, indulgent or even worse a bad parent or partner. 

Why is there a level of guilt that we humans carry at times when we are not being selfish, but rather indulging ourselves in some self-care? 
I’m a huge believer that in order to turn up and be your very best for others, you must first ensure that you are being the very best towards yourself. If this involves some time out then drop the guilt trip and pay attention to the language that you are using. 
I view leadership in the same way: 
Lead SELF – Lead TEAM – Lead ORGANISATION (in that order). 
I wonder if we changed the word selfish to self-ish or even better self-care then we would give ourselves permission to practice the 4R’s rather than get the guilts on? 
When did you last confuse selfish with self-care? 

What’s Up With What’s Next?

It’s that time of the year again where I am frequently asked this question related to the work I’m doing with my clients on human leadership: 

What’s Next?

It reminds me of those moments when we see ‘shiny things’ whizz past and we are immediately distracted and lose touch with what we are in the middle of being or doing, 

It a little like a virus of sorts and before you know it, everyone has caught it and is almost without a moment of thought asking: 

What’s Next?

Are we all in that much of a hurry? 

Perhaps we are looking to avoid what we have committed to because it’s got a little scratchy and clunky, becoming bloody hard work, and it is far easier to remove the messiness with a new thing? Like people stuff? Oh no – not the people stuff you say. 

What about before we go to what’s next, we actually spend some time reflecting on the now and make sure that we are acknowledging we have more work to do and accepting that by working through the messiness we can grow and benefit at a personal and group level? 

Oh and when did we stop celebrating in the successes of the ‘here and now’ and just move on to ‘what’s next’? Was it when we started to convince ourselves that if we weren’t constantly on the move then we would be extinct? 

My friend and creator of ‘Decrapifying Work’ Colin Newlyn says he is amazed by how much time organisations spend in developing a 5-year plan every 12-months!! Think about that for a moment.

Shiny enough for you?  
Before you head off on your crusade to find something shiny, new and next how about stopping and reflecting on the following questions: 
What is challenging me right now? 
What am I curious to know more about? 
What learning do I need to consolidate? 
What’s messy and helping me to grow? 
Stop chasing shiny stuff and what’s next and sit in the messiness of the here and now. 

Are You Stuck In Quantity Over Quality Mindset?

One valuable lesson I learned at my stay at Elysia was that I had developed a ‘go hard or go home’ mentality to my training and it was working against me. 

Putting quantity ahead of quality was my impression of what success was. 

My ‘success’ was all about how many calories I burned or how high I could get my heart rate during a training session. I could relate this in some ways to my days in corporate where it was all about beating last years numbers as a measure of success. 

After undertaking the in-body scan under the supervision of Matty Rendall at Elysia, he was able to explain to me that I was in essence ‘overtraining’ and not getting the value out of my sessions because of my focus on literally ‘blowing myself up’ in every high intensity session and then quickly looking at my average and max heart rate as my measure of success. 

Matty explained that for my body type (mesomorph) I needed to change up the training and put quality before quantity. In essence I needed allow for my heartrate to come down in longer rest periods (quality) than always be in the red zone (quantity). By flipping some sessions from a 40/20 high-medium intensity to a 20/40, incorporating some mix of strength and conditioning in one session and a change of mindset that it was all about quantity and beating last weeks numbers I’m already getting the benefits after a few weeks. 

Are you prioritising quantity over quality in any aspect of your life at present? 

If yes write these down and reflect on whether it’s a benefit or hindrance to you improving your performance. 

It might just be time to make a few tweaks and benefit from quality over quantity.