Pages tagged "Blog"
Public Allies Reflect on Their Growth and Service in First-Half of Apprenticeship
February 20, 2019
By Megan Bennett
Community Outreach Specialist, Public Allies AmeriCorps Member
The Public Allies Miami cohort participated in their mid-year retreat marking the halfway point of their 10-month tenure of service over January 31st to February 1st, 2019. The overnight retreat at Oleta River State Park was spent connecting with nature, each other, self-reflection, and learning what leadership looks like as a Public Ally.
After a rainy start, the Allies did some team bonding by kayaking through mangroves and wildlife. There they tapped into their "blue heart", a term their kayaking guide used to explain the feeling of calm and oneness when on the water and in nature. Being a Public Ally is about the protecting and advocating for those in need. Through their guided tour, they learned just why the beauty of nature and the environment needs to be protected as well.
The last activity for the evening was “Gift Seat”, where an Ally was chosen for the ‘seat’ and all members of the cohort gave the selected Ally praise, constructive criticism, and a unique perspective about the individual that they may have not seen about themselves. Though this was more of a difficult activity, each Ally came out with a better sense of self and a deeper respect for each other.
The next morning, each Public Ally was awarded a superlative that best described their interaction within the cohort and their best qualities. After saying good-bye to Dave the duck and Fred the feral cat (friendly animal neighbors), the trip ended with the Allies writing a letter to our future selves. In that letter, the Allies reflected on how they struggled, and what they learned in the first half of the year and how they will strive to continue learning and be their best selves for the remainder of their service.
Cheers to a phenomenal first half of service and the growth that awaits in the second half!
The New Normal: The Dos and Don’ts of Office Behavior in 2018
January 19, 2018
By Russell Correa, Ed.M., guest blogger
Consider some examples of what are being referred to as the Matt Lauer guidelines at NBC, after his much publicized firing recently.
- Do not share a taxi home with colleagues.
- If you hug a co-worker, you have to do a quick hug, then an immediate release, and step away to avoid body contact.
- Do not take vegans to steakhouses.
- No office affairs or romances between colleagues.
- If you are aware of an office romance or affair, you must inform the company or face termination for covering up.
Now, I think most of us will agree that it is long overdue that we take issues of power, bullying and harassment seriously and give voice to those who have been victimized in the workplace. And that we should not only focus on women’s issues, but issues across race, religion and culture as we can find decades of illegal and harassing behavior targeted against different groups.
The unintended consequence, though, of this nationwide review of workplace policies, is that inevitably many organizations will overreach (like the ones listed above) in a way that can potentially do more harm than good in terms of creating a culture of respect.
The opposite – a culture of fear – could actually develop as employees question how they are supposed to act in the office in today’s charged environment. Hopefully, it is a safe assumption that we all want to create a respectful work environment, but just what are the dos and don’ts in the office now?
Well, while I’d love to list out some bullet points or a policy below that you could follow, the easy answer to the question I just posed is that there is no easy answer. Consider the below example of a “workplace respect policy” that I read the other day.
- (Company) is firmly committed to ensuring a positive and professional working environment to building and preserving a safe, productive, and healthy working environment, based on mutual respect for all its employees. In pursuit of this goal, (Company) does not condone and will not tolerate acts of disrespectful behavior, including; violence, harassment, discrimination, or bullying against or by any (Company) employee, subcontractor, agency staff/contractor, supplier and client.
So what is your reaction to this? Sounds good, right?
Yes, it does sound good. However, this is where the problem lies in that policies like these are very vague and general and don't really give specifics about day-in, day-out behavior or give employees the opportunity to talk in an open forum about what these topics really mean to them.
I would also add that it’s very difficult to impose expected behavior on people or train employees how to act without their buy-in or agreement. Anger, resentment and fear typically result from this type of initiative.
So what is your organization trying to do to define guidelines for a respectful workplace? Here are a few suggested Dos and Don’ts, from both an organizational and personal perspective:
DO - Acknowledge the past reality and context of our work environments and how they exist in a broader society that has struggled for decades with issues of racism and sexism.
DON’T – Impose blanket rules without soliciting feedback from your employees. Consider the use of an outside facilitator as these conversations can be emotionally charged.
DO – Review all of your internal policies and procedures related to office behavior to make sure everything is updated. This will also protect your organization against legal exposure.
DON’T – Be afraid of difficult conversations in the office related to gender (as one example). Problems and issues will not just go away without being addressed.
DO – Provide your employees with communication and conflict resolution skills to handle these difficult conversations in a professional way.
DON’T – Assume all employees feel comfortable reporting issues when they take place. Make sure everyone knows that your organization is a safe space for them.
DO – Consider what you may be doing in the office that makes others feel disrespected. If you say or do something questionable , own it in the moment and think how you can do things differently in the future.
DON’T – Assume the intent or motivation of others. Before reacting or forming a conclusion, take a few moments to analyze the issue that may have upset or offended you. Consider getting outside input and feedback.
DO – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, so to speak. How are others experiencing you?
DON’T – Be afraid to be yourself. We all can work on our style in the office but do it in a way that is consistent with who you are.
If you would like to learn more insights and tips into this topic, please register for a 45-minute webinar I will be hosting on January 31st at 12pm - The New Normal: The Dos and Don'ts of Office Behavior in 2018. The registration fee is $35 for individuals and $125 for groups and agencies (for 5 or more attendees). This webinar is part of my ongoing Working Smarter / Living Smarter series that I will be hosting in 2018. For more information and to register, go to https://www.zetaconsultingfl.com/6203202.en.html
About Russell Correa, Ed.M., LMHC
As the Principal of Zeta Consulting Group, Russell Correa brings close to 20 years of experience as a licensed clinician, certified executive coach, HR & Management consultant and trainer to his work. Russell also serves as a board member for Allegany Franciscan Ministries, a funder of nonprofits in the Miami, Tampa Bay and Palm Beach areas. You can contact Russell at 786.457.5371 or [email protected]. You can also visit his website at zetaconsultingfl.com
Enable Project: Advocate Training Materials
If you plan to attend our Enable Project events Advocate Training: The Intersection of Civic Engagement and Disability or Advocate Training & Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance 101, please download the following materials so you can be fully prepared for the events!
Advocate Training: Civic Engagement
ADA Checklist 2018
Advocate Training: SSDI Applications
Advocate Training: Applying for Social Security Benefits
Attorney Training: SSDI Appeals
For more information about these events and to RSVP, click on the thumbnails below.
This workshop is a part of the Enable Project which is a coalition that provides training to non-profits and social justice organizations and their staff to create channels for inclusion of people with disabilities in their organizations and movements.
March 14, 2018
By our Prosperity staff in collaboration with YES! Youth.
Check this out.
These are our oral health advocates from Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) from Miami Northwestern Senior High School.
These young activists are working hard to bring nutritional and oral health education to their school and schools in their community. Last month, in honor of National Children's Dental Health month, the YES! youth challenged their peers by asking different questions about oral health disparities. A compilation of interviews can be seen in the video above.
Comprehensive Fundraising: A Key Ingredient for Securing Private Grants
May 22, 2018
By Bentonne Snay, guest blogger
Are private foundation grants part of your nonprofit organization’s broad-based fundraising plan? If so, would you like to attract more and larger private grant awards?
If you are not already applying for private foundation grants, would you like to know how to obtain private grant awards?
Here you will find a few important things to help you achieve your fundraising goals.
One reason to add private grants to your comprehensive fundraising approach is that private foundation grants - unlike government grants - often require only one final report to ensure the grantor that you accomplished the objectives set forth in your grant proposal and spent their funds as promised.
However, private foundations are increasingly accepting grant requests only from organizations they have invited to apply. In fact, The Snay Group recently conducted prospect research to identify potential grant opportunities for 19 nonprofit organizations. Between June 2016 and February 2018, we found that 31% to 74% or an average of 50% of all 1,000+ foundations identified as having interests and funding types matching our nonprofit clients did not accept unsolicited applications.
Without a prior relationship, most private foundations are unlikely to invite an application, despite a well-crafted letter of inquiry. They are also unlikely to respond to an application requesting funding, regardless of the organization’s accomplishments or programs, even when it seemingly matches the foundation’s interests or priorities perfectly. This is because what differentiates one organization’s proposal from another’s might not be their programming, but their board members. Even when foundations accept unsolicited applications, board connections are important and can provide the edge needed to win a grant award despite competition with many nonprofits seeking limited grant funds.
In her Blog: Fundraising for Nonprofits, Lynn deLearie states that a client determined that 75% of their proposals to new prospective foundations that had a connection to their board were funded as compared to only 35% of proposals without a board connection receiving grant awards (deLearie, Lynn, Cultivating the Grantor, Part 1, https://managementhelp.org/blogs/fundraising-for-nonprofits/2012/10/04/cultivating-the-grantor-part-1/).
The importance of an engaged board of directors that recognizes its importance in the grants process is fundamental to a nonprofit organization’s success in obtaining private grant awards. Most boards are comprised of individuals who have skills and connections that are beneficial to their organization. These individuals choose to be on the board because they value the organization’s mission and work and are willing to advocate on its behalf. The board members for your organization are probably the same.
Unfortunately, board members are often recruited without being informed of the organization’s expectations about their roles and responsibilities, especially regarding fundraising. Other times, they know what is expected but are not given the proper support and training to effectively raise funds for the nonprofit organization.
As a result, board members may lose their enthusiasm for the organization. This disengagement can lead to board members’ complacency and reluctance or refusal to assist with fundraising, including making connections with private foundations. In either case, the organization’s ability to secure private grants will be limited.
To prevent this, you can take the following steps can avoid or mitigate potential board disengagement:
Clarify the role of board members. Sometimes board members are not well informed about what is expected of them. Other times, board members and executive staff do not agree on the role of the board. Staff and board members must address this discrepancy to come to an agreement on the board’s expected role in the organization. Both these situations can be remedied with the provision of a written Board Member Job Description. If interested, please email [email protected] for a digital copy of a Board Member Job Description.
Personalize the organization’s relationship with board members. In larger organizations, there are dedicated members of the development team who cultivate and steward relationships with board members. However, even in small nonprofit organizations, creating ties to different stakeholders in the organization (staff, clients and donors) will encourage board members to become and stay involved in the organization’s fundraising success. What can you do today to connect with your board members?
Engage board members in advocacy and fundraising. Board members should willingly use their professional and personal networks to benefit your organization. Organizations should share information on a potential grant funder’s board and staff with board members, encouraging them to utilize any connections with potential funders to aid in the grants process. Engaging board members in this way will also deepen their commitment to the organization’s success.
Creating an environment that encourages board engagement requires strategically employing members’ time and skills in support of your organization. An engaged board is a vital component to the overall health of an organization. While involving board members in the grants process will not guarantee funding from potential grantors, your chances may improve significantly with their involvement.
For nonprofit organizations seeking additional information on private grants and how to utilize board members to secure them, check out the information provided on our website at www.thesnaygroup.com. If you are interested in The Snay Group’s services, complete the Grant Readiness Questionnaire.
About Bentonne Snay
Bentonne Snay, President and CEO of The Snay Group, Inc., is an experienced executive and fundraiser with more than 30 years in the nonprofit sector, including 26 years as a grant professional. She has been a Grant Professional Certified since 2011. She is proficient in all areas of fund development and excels at the development of award-winning grant proposals.
Established in 1991, The Snay Group, Inc. provides the highest quality professional consulting services to organizations seeking to increase their revenues through the acquisition of public, private, and community grant awards in addition to other fundraising initiatives. The Snay Group has secured nearly $39 million in grant awards for numerous nonprofit clients, including Catalyst Miami.
Q&A with Oral Health Coordinator
September 17, 2018
By Fransisca Meralus
Catalyst Miami has recently hired Fransisca Meralus as our Oral Health Coordinator. We asked her to answer these 5 questions to learn more about what her goals and aspirations at Catalyst Miami are!
1- Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Fransisca Meralus and I am Haitian-American. I was born and raised in Miami and attended Miami-Dade County Public schools, eventually graduating from North Miami Senior High School. I then went on to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. for four years, where I received my Bachelors of Science in Nutritional Sciences.
2- Please share with us your career goals and how the position of Oral Health Coordinator fits into your plan?
Throughout my matriculation at Howard University, I realized a developing passion for service. So what better way to do that than to give back to the community that raised me? Catalyst Miami offers services that equip members of the community with the tools and skills needed to be self-sufficient citizens. With a background in nutrition, oral health is definitely an area that is overlooked and needs to be brought into the spotlight. Catalyst Miami is putting in great effort to make sure that the awareness of oral health in Miami Dade County is a priority, an effort that I am now glad to be a part of.
3- What is the state of Oral Health in our state, county, and city, and why is it important to do this work in our community?
There has been progress made to improve the health of our county, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. For instance, about 98.1% of residents in Miami-Dade are served by community water systems that receive optimally fluoridated water, this is greater compared to the 77.0% average across the state of Florida.
However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida has no oral health plan, which is why organizations around Florida, such as Catalyst Miami and partners, are committed to raising oral health as a social justice issue, systemic issue; prioritizing advocacy to improve access to dental care, community education, ongoing communication, and ensuring that oral health services are available to all Floridians.
The Florida Department of Health’s County Health Departments provide School-Based Sealant Program services that as of now serve 51% of students in Florida. These are just some ongoing initiatives, already set in place, that we are working to improve.
It’s important to do this work to change the state of oral health in Florida. The current perception of oral health is a matter of personal hygiene and individual agency. We are working diligently to change that!
Diseases and issues in oral health have shown to link with diseases and issues that affect overall health of a human. Therefore it makes it important for the community to take care of their oral health with the same care they do their overall health, and for public officials to make sure everyone, regardless of socio-economic and legal status, has access to care.
4- What is the Oral Health 2020 vision, and how does your work and the work of Catalyst Miami fit into that vision?
The vision of Oral Health 2020 is to eradicate dental disease in children and improve oral health across the lifespan. My work as Catalyst Miami’s Oral Health Coordinator, is primarily to change the public perception of oral health in Miami through various methods, including working with Miami-Dade Oral Health Network partners to reach members of the community and get their input, raise awareness in Miami-Dade County specific communities by engaging community residents, students, school administrators, etc., in community engagement activities that allow them to share their collective input about the changes they want to see in their communities.
I will also be working on a public education and awareness campaign to change perceptions about oral care, host online webinars focused on oral health care, and advocate for oral health policy changes at the city, county, school board and state level to name a few.
The Oral Health 2020 vision places community residents at the forefront of change, which is exactly what we do at Catalyst Miami, so the work fits perfectly with our mission and the way we engage our partners and community base.
5- What are some of the specific areas of work you'll be responsible for, and what are some of the ways community members and organizations can get involved?
My specific areas of work include engaging high school age youth in advocating for change at the school board level. Our partnership with the Miami Children’s Initiative has allowed us to work with the youth at Miami Northwestern Senior High School.
In addition to coalition building within the Miami Dade Oral Health Network, I’ll be raising public awareness by participating in community outreach events and launching social media campaigns, facilitating workshops that will train oral health advocates on the current obstacles and realities to oral health care within MDC, and encouraging parent engagement by working with local parent-teacher associations.
We welcome and encourage the participation of anyone committed to improving oral health through education, assessment, policy/program development and collaboration. Please share your interest in participating in The Miami-Dade Oral Health Network by emailing me at: [email protected]. We look forward to collaborating!
Oral Health: Personal or public problem?
February 20, 2018
By Kristina Reed
Why should someone else’s oral health be your problem, or the government’s for that matter? Who cares about someone else’s toothache or gingivitis?
Well, you should.
Why the public’s oral health matters:
Oral health policies and outcomes affect more than just individuals. They have measurable consequences for our nation and the economy. One way that oral health influences the economy is through its effect on employment. Job candidates with visible or untreated oral health problems are significantly less likely to be hired, which contributes to chronic unemployment in some segments of workers and starts a cascade of economic effects. Oral health problems can translate into lost earnings, along with a loss of tax revenue and economic activity and an increase in costs associated with public assistance.
Oral health problems also affect the economy by leading to increased health care costs. When care is difficult to access - due to factors including inadequate insurance coverage and cost - patients are more likely to develop preventable problems. Many patients will defer treatment until the problem becomes severe, then seek emergency treatment. This is more expensive and rarely solves the problem, as emergency treatment is not meant for chronic health issues, making it likely that care will need to be sought once again. Meanwhile, the emergency system becomes overburdened, lowering the quality of care for all. The overall effect is an increase in health care costs, with no improvement in health outcomes. This is a frustrating and vicious cycle, especially because oral health problems are preventable through sound public health measures.
The problem with how we think about oral health:
Intersections among policy, outcomes, disparities, and costs are obvious to experts, but the public still has a narrow view of the consequences of poor oral health. Most people make simple and immediate associations: poor oral health leads to pain and “low self-esteem”. Prompting may cause people to consider some ripple effects, such as missed work days or opportunities. Yet, the common view is that these negative impacts are problems for individuals and family members, not matters of public concern. If the problem is thought of as the occasional toothache and a little personal embarrassment, then it becomes difficult to justify the need for policy and programs.
Ordinary Americans also believe that oral health problems can be prevented, but place the responsibility for doing so on individuals. In the public’s eye, prevention involves three simple behaviors: brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly. These are assumed to be matters of personal choice, willpower, and responsibility. This mindset leaves little role for policy and little chance that problems can be solved through a public response. The factors shaping the integration or separation of medical care and oral health are completely absent from the public’s thinking, and public health efforts are not considered. Oral health care remains low on the public policy agenda even in the midst of intense debate about other health care issues. We need to consider structural and systemic factors that influence oral health and the kinds of policies and programs that could change them.
Why public health interventions work:
How can oral health be improved? Experts see oral health issues as completely preventable with public health efforts that reach large numbers of people consistently. A great example of a successful public health approach is water fluoridation, which is inexpensive, low-key, and has resulted in dramatic improvements in dental health. Other preventive measures, like screening and dental sealants could improve outcomes further if made widely available. The availability and affordability of healthy food also plays an important role in oral health, and federal nutrition programs and policies have been connected to oral health outcomes. Similarly, access to affordable, quality oral health care is essential to effective public policy on oral health. There is also need for a variety of changes in current health insurance schemes, such as expansion of eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid, increase of oral health coverage in these plans, and inclusion of at least some oral health treatment in private medical insurance. Other policies could better integrate oral health concerns into medical care, such as screenings for oral infections during pregnancy. It is important to recognize that oral health intersects with several other issues and public health solutions should be from a variety of angles.
Episode 62- Getting Clear On Climate Change with Zelalem Adefris
January 18, 2018
By Planted in Miami
To many residents in Miami, climate change is personal. To Zelalem Adefris, climate change is her life’s work. Building on her passion for public health and environmental activism, Zelalem moved to Miami a few years ago to become the Climate Resilience Program Manager at Catalyst Miami. Zelalem works to educate residents on the local impacts of climate change, connecting climate change to social justice initiatives and implementing programs that strengthen the resilience of communities.
It’s no secret that South Florida is ‘ground zero’ for rising sea levels and that many scientists predict major flooding and inhabitable communities within this century if drastic measures aren’t taken.
Catalyst Miami has created CLEAR Miami (Community Leadership on the Environment, Advocacy, and Resilience) to provide the groundwork to bring about change by recruiting educators, leaders and innovators in their own communities and beyond.
Participants will learn how to advocate for policies and practices that strengthen the resiliency of Miami communities, educate residents on basic climate science, threats and solutions as well as expose and challenge how poverty and discrimination make communities vulnerable to climate change. This free leadership training starts on Wednesday, Feb. 7 and runs 11 weeks.
We’re excited to be participating in the training and hope you will join us.
We hope you enjoy the conversation,
Alex & Jeanette
Listen on Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play Music | TuneIn | iHeartRADIO
- Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life – The Minimalists
- Happier at Home – Gretchen Rubin
- Fertile Earth – Composting Workshop
- Miami Is Not Plastic
- Bunnie Cakes – Episode 59
- Starbucks Community Store – Miami Gardens
- Podfest Multimedia Expo
This article was originally posted on Planted in Miami.
“Fired up… Ready to go!”: Two Dade Days Experiences
March 6, 2018
Catalyst Miami is incredibly proud of all our community members who attended our Dade Days of Action trip to Tallahassee from January 31-February 1, 2018. These leaders deserve great recognition for taking time off of work, leaving their families behind, bringing their children, and representing the voices of the most vulnerable in our communities.
Every story they shared with an elected official, every time they passionately advocated to expand healthcare or for a more just and equitable policy to protect tenants, consumers, workers, or our environment, gave us hope that change is possible. We know the time and effort they invested not only on this trip, but also preparing by attending workshops, reading about the issues and bills, and speaking to their neighbors and friends, will translate into better policies for our communities. One story, one meeting, one vote at a time.
Below are a couple personal experiences of the trip by two outstanding 2018 Dade Days Fellows.
A First-Time Dade Days Experience, by Makissa Lewis
Makissa with Representative Kionne McGhee at Mambo Kings
“Fired up… Ready to go!” they yelled in a call-and-response fashion as we left Miami on a full bus to Tallahassee.
They called me a newbie because it was my first trip with Catalyst Miami. As a newbie I was not sure what to expect but with that “Fired up… Ready to go!” battle cry, I expected something exciting.
The first stop in Tallahassee after room keys were issued was the Florida People's Advocacy Center (FL PAC) for a legislative update. The play on words was deliberate. As we were informed, FL PAC is leveraging the voice of the people rather than dollars for change. One thing that was clear about this stop was that every story told was a person’s truth, which in turn, was also that person’s source of power.
On the first morning in Tallahassee on the bus ride to the Capitol, again you heard, “Fired up… Ready to go!” It was calming to hear the words. It made you realize if the FL PAC visit and presentation did not confirm it that you are with folks that like you, want to see change, rather than just talk about change.
One memorable encounter was our meeting with District 117 Representative Kionne McGhee's Legistative Assistant, Mikhail Scott. The reason it was memorable is that he remembered me and the work I've done on behalf of veterans. It also taught me that you are always being watched. That people are seeing what you do, so make sure what you do is good. Mr. Scott took time to listen to the stories of everyone in the room even though his time was limited.
By the time we had lunch, I did not feel like a newbie. I felt like I had that fire and nobody could diminish my flame. That evening, I attended the famous Mambo Kings party for Miami-Dade County delegations. I really can’t put into words what it felt like seeing some of the same representatives, senators, aides, assistants, and so on in a more carefree setting. There was still talk of politics but now it included the politics of who will be named Mambo Queen. I also had a memorable experience that night. I managed to get a table with the Florida House of Representative Cynthia A. Stafford representing District 109th. She talked about topics that ranged from her children's initiatives to her being named Mambo Queen. She is also responsible for having me get to speak with Representative Kionne McGhee. Upon speaking with Representative McGhee he spoke of his work on the bill that will provide tax-free week for veterans. I was able to share my desire to have a nonprofit called Building Your Legacy that will provide tutoring and mentoring to veterans so they can earn a post-secondary degree.
The last morning in Tallahassee consisted of site seeing mostly. I still chuckle thinking about the birdhouse mansion that was at the Governor’s Mansion. It just looks like a birdhouse with lots of windows to me. I am still amazed at the Supreme Court library that still preserves books and does not replace them with modern technology. It was an amazing trip. I am fired up and ready to go next year.
Makissa Lewis is a disabled combat veteran whose passion causes her to be an advocate for women rights, youth development, veterans, and other underserved populations.
Joining Together in Advocacy is What It's All About, by Daniella Pierre
Daniella (right) talking issues with Representative David Richardson (middle) and Camilo Mejia (left, Catalyst Miami staff)
Being a part of Dade Days 2018 Fellowship provided me the opportunity to serve my community through advocacy. While there, I had the opportunity to speak directly to policymakers about what our issues are, locally. As a delegation, we were able to provide input on a series of bills in both the Florida House and the Senate that could potentially affect the way things happen in our communities. While some of the issues may not directly impact us all, showing support by joining together to raise awareness for others, is what advocacy and change are all about. Those are the moments that inspired me the most. I encourage all residents of South Florida to consider joining in and getting more involved, civically. Training workshops are provided that will help prepare you. All in all, it was a great experience for me and I look forward to serving again.
Daniella is a mother, thought leader and champion of affordable housing and homeownership. Because of the challenges with affordability and accessibility in the housing market, she lends her voice as an advocate for those who are priced-out of living where they work.
The best present this holiday season? How about a gift to yourself.
December 20, 2017
By Russell Correa, Ed.M., guest blogger
A couple of weeks ago, I was working with one of my coaching clients during an early morning session over coffee. As we spoke, it was pretty evident that something was on her mind. So I decided to change the focus of the meeting and asked her what was up. She proceeded to share a laundry list of issues that she was thinking about, all personal errands and needs that she felt she never had time for due to work and other family responsibilities. She quickly apologized and seemed a little embarrassed for sharing what she considered personal information.
What I said next surprised her – “Listen, I think you need to stop apologizing and start being a little more selfish with your time”.
Now I get that some of you may react negatively to the word selfish. Be more selfish? Seriously? That’s the problem with today’s world – too many selfish people, right? Well, bear with me for a few moments while I describe what I mean by being more selfish.
Now many of us have been conditioned to be the opposite – selfless, especially in the nonprofit and social service industry. But think about it for a second. At a certain point, being completely selfless eventually starts giving you limited returns as self-care deferred is a very slippery slope. Use my coaching client as an example. She was so stressed and overwhelmed by her mounting list of personal things she needed to address, that her ability to be focused and engaged was challenged.
Has this ever happened to you? You’re at work in a meeting and your mind wanders to some pressing personal need you have to do. We refer to this as presenteeism – your body is present but your mind is somewhere else.
This probably happens to a lot of us. The problem is that we tend to exclusively focus on issues external to ourselves at the expense of our own well-being. Think about it and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a pressing medical appointment you have to make and you keep in telling yourself you’ll do it tomorrow?
- How many times have you missed your gym time or exercise because of work responsibilities?
- When was the last time you had “you” time?
- Is your checkbook balanced? Do you know exactly how much money is in your account right now?
- When was the last time you got a great night of sleep?
If any of these questions got a reaction from you, then I would challenge you to be a little more selfish today, but in the good sense of the word.
Yes, I do believe being selfish can be a good thing if it allows you to be more energized and available to help others. Try this “selfish” exercise for starters. Stop what you are doing and take 5 minutes and brain-dump everything on paper that you have to do in the next 30 days to attend to yourself. Call it your “selfish” list. Here is mine:
- Call my financial planner and add to my son’s 529 plan (this has been on my to-do list for three months).
- Make a follow up with my dentist to check what happened to my replacement cap (four months on my to-do list).
- Research how to do a cleanse (been on my list since July).
- Finish reading the book Team of Rivals (on my list since January).
- Look up what the heck Bitcoin is (on my list since August).
And now the most important part of your “selfish” list. Book an appointment with yourself and keep it like any other scheduled meeting. Then start taking action. Even 10 minutes day of selfishness will add up to 30.4 hours of time. What could you do in 30 hours? Think about it.
So here is my holiday challenge to you, be more selfish. Really! You might be surprised how much more effective, productive and ultimately selfless you can be.
If you would like to learn more on this topic or had questions about my Consulting, Coaching and Training services, contact me at 786.457.5371 or [email protected]. You can also visit my website at zetaconsultingfl.com.
About Russell Correa, Ed.M., LMHC
As the Principal of Zeta Consulting Group, Russell Correa brings close to 20 years of experience as a licensed clinician, certified executive coach, HR & Management consultant and trainer to his work. Russell also serves as a board member for Allegany Franciscan Ministries, a funder of nonprofits in the Miami, Tampa Bay and Palm Beach areas.