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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


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.



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