I went to a mentoring orientation last night. I am an active advocate for education, and I mentor students at both the High School and College level.
During this orientation we had a very unique icebreaker exercise to allow my mentee and I to get to know each other.
Inside of a white envelope were slips of paper with various questions we had to answer.
- What is your education compared to your family?
- What type of hobbies do you enjoy?
And then the kicker…
- Who is the Most Important Person in Your Life?
How can I answer this question without sounding totally conceited?
There is a new student sitting in front of me, waiting for my answer…
The most important person in my life is ME. My life and my importance starts and ends with me.
I have 3 sons who I cherish, equally. My family members are all significant, however if I am not at my best and taking care of me first, I am of no use to anyone else.
I grew up living primarily with my Mother, who always told me, take care of yourself because no one else will. She was an advocate for my independence and self-reliance.
I am not saying I neglect my sons or their needs, far from it. I am at all their events, front and center. I love to cook for them and hear the words “that was good Ma.” Very satisfying to hear my guys enjoy a meal I prepared.
However, when it comes down to it, there are some definite ways I put myself first:
1. Exercise – I make sure to spend 45 mins to 2 hour 3-4 times a week working out to a good cardio and strength training exercise program. On the nights I workout, my boys know Mom isn’t immediately available. It is my time.
2. Nutrition – I eat right. I am still following the principles of The 100 by Jorge Cruise and have lost 7 lbs in 3 weeks! My boys have tons of pasta and iced cream, but I limit my intake as much as humanly possible. Remember your body is a temple. Worship it with good food.
3. Blogging – This column is another way I put me first. I want to express my creativity in constructive ways. I want to make sure I flex my mind and heart. I also love to share a laugh.
4. Dressing Well – I have now perfected my personal style. When we are in our 40s we learn what looks good on us and what doesn’t. Doesn’t matter what your body size is, your 40s are the time to be proud of who you are and show it off. Even when casual, I want to feel great about it.
5. Mentoring – When I mentor, the purpose is to help another reach their goals, however I receive a ton of personal benefits. I have learned what motivates others, to be a better listener and coach. I have to remain on point during each session, yet also be flexible in case my mentee wants to discuss something new. Mentoring is a large commitment, but one I truly enjoy.
There are many things I do for others but in the end what truly matters is that I have my health, knowledge and happiness in hand.
6. I say “No”. I have learned to say no without consequence. For example, I decline almost as many social invitations as I accept, for the sheer fact that I just don’t want to go. I don’t believe in sucking it up and attending just to be seen. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are off limits during week, that’s my workout nights. Nothing gets in way. I also say no to my children, spouse, boss (in the last case with a well prepared rationale at the ready) when I disagree. Saying no with a firm and gentle hand is a skill I practice and want to master one day. For my own sanity and peace of mind.
Now, when I answered the question, I didn’t go through all 6 points in detail with my new mentee. I laid out a 30 second skim of the top points, giving her a high-level overview of why I value me as the most important person.
She smiled at me and said “Wow, that is so true, I look forward to getting to know more about you.”
I smiled back.
We are meeting up for a coffee in 2 weeks.
Are you the most important person in your own life? You deserve to be. 💋~ Miranda