What self-care practices do you follow? Are they regular? Do you go through phases of taking care of yourself, and then a few bits of resentment when you suddenly realise that you’ve left yourself at the back of the priority queue again?
Or – are you possible thinking “Self-Care?? What’s that? I don’t recall when last I was able to think about myself instead of everyone else…. ”
If that’s you, you have my empathy and compassion. I used to be there so often. Most of the time, in fact. I carried a world of responsibility on my shoulders, and felt like I couldn’t drop any of the balls in case nothing would work without me being there. (Arrogant, right?)
That of course meant I could never take a day off, I didn’t do things I really wanted to (like read or paint or just sit and think!) and I kept feeling more exhausted and resentful. Not a joyful way to live.
I’m grateful to say that with loads of kind support from others, I’ve made major progress. Even after I wrote ‘No Problem. The Upside of Saying No’ I learned a heck of a lot – partly from making the same mistakes over and over. I gained so much awareness about my self-inflicted suffering!
As a part of this self-care journey, I hosted the Savvy Self-Care Secrets Telesummit in 2014. The 13 experts from all around the globe gave me much to think about and practice. The irony was not lost on me that I had to take a few days of self-care right in the middle of the summit! I can’t even begin to describe in how many ways my life has improved because self-care is now a priority for me.
This is not about tooting my own horn. It’s to encourage you if you’re still not in a great energy or self-care space – there is hope! Oh yes – there is so much hope for you. If I, the Queen of Self-Neglect can make progress, so can you!
A new Self-Care Insight
Can I share a story with you about another important self-care insight I’ve had very recently?
I spent a weekend with my husband at Elements Private Golf Reserve. One of my favourite activities there is to walk for miles in the beautiful African bush. It’s far from any city. The air is fresh, there are hardly any cars around and mostly one can only hear the sounds of nature.
Birds, the breeze in the trees, and hee and the sound of my footsteps. It’s so quiet at night it almost hurts the ears.
As I went for my hour-long walk one very hot morning, I had some interesting thoughts about why these walks felt so meaningful and important to me. Back home, in the city, I do love walking as well – yet I don’t love the traffic, the petrol fumes and having so many people around me.
As I stood in a shady spot, underneath a beautiful indigenous tree, it suddenly struck me.
I was practicing self-care completely in alignment with my talents!
“Huh? ‘Scuse me??” I can hear you say…
Talents have Needs too!
We all have amazing talents or super powers (I’m talking about those defined by Gallup, through the StrengthsFinder online Asssessment) – certain things that we do extremely well almost unconsciously. We don’t think it’s special because it feels so ‘normal’ to us. Yet, not everyone can do those things. (Don’t believe me? Yep, I get that. Contact me for a StrengthsFinder Assessment and I’ll help you find yours…)
Even more amazing is that each talent can only contribute its amazing gifts to the world, TO THE DEGREE that its needs are met.
There are 34 Talents defined in this well-researched system. And each is completely unique and plays out in our relationships, in how we influence those around us, in how we execute tasks, and in how we think.
It sounds weird, I know, that a talent is in essence a type of energy that wants to be expressed through us. More importantly, each has certain needs that must be met, for it to contribute it’s special qualities to the world.
Let me give you some examples:
The Gallup talent of Connectedness contributes to my intuition, a gut feel about things, and connecting the dots about everything in my life. I can use this talent effectively in the work with my precious clients. I can use my intuition to ‘get’ what they’re going through, and I can help them see situations from a bigger (perhaps even spiritual) perspective to make sense of it.
And (this is crucial) – this Connectedness talent needs the following in order to come to life: Time in nature! I NEED to place myself in an environment regularly where I can feel connected. For me, that happens in nature, where I can take walks, with only nature around me. It feels like I can connect with the trees, the birds, the insects, grass. Sounds crazy, right? I know others with this talent will understand what I’m saying.
Another example is my talent of Intellection.
Intellection is a thinking talent. People with this talent love to think things through deeply and slowly. They contribute wisdom, well-thought-through decisions and contributions to important topics and subjects. To a person with Intellection, it’s almost like ‘thinking IS doing.’ It’s not idle time they spend up in their mind – it’s very productive and ‘active’ time. A lot happens up there!
So what does a person with Intellection need in order to bring out their wisdom and deeply thought-through ideas into the world? They need TIME to think in solitude. On these walks, I always receive sudden powerful thoughts that came out of ‘nowhere’. Why? Because I’m feeding this talent, nurturing it – and then it WILL contribute its genius.
Another example is the talent of Harmony. It’s more of a relationship-building talent. It loves finding common ground, and creating win-win situations. It NEEDS harmonious environments to function well and bring harmony and peace to those around them. And nature certainly feels harmonious to me. Nothing out of place, nothing needs to be ‘fixed’ or changed. All in perfect working order, as it should be. It creates a harmonious and peaceful feeling deep inside of me when I’m taking those walks.
And when I go home with harmony on the inside, I can go back home and create it again on the ‘outside’.
Nurturing our Talents
So on that hot day, under the tree, I could suddenly clearly see how at least three talents in my Top 5 were being ‘fed’ something nutritious and important during my walks in the bush. That’s why I can usually not wait for our 6-weekly visit to a place in nature – either Elements (in the bushveld, as we call it here in South Africa) or a mountain resort where we love taking long hikes. All of them feed at least 3 of my 5 strongest talents.
I went home energized and motivated, peaceful, filled with inspired thoughts and ready to ‘output’ again.
Burnout or Overflow
From personal experience, I know how we can burn out very quickly if we don’t practice self-care. This experience perfectly connected the dots for me (oh my – there’s that Connectedness talent again!) between self-care and my talents.
Self-care is not the same for everybody. Not everyone will feel cared for by a hot bubble bath, a candle-lit dinner with an important person, a massage, or spending time in nature on a long walk.
We need to each know how to practice the RIGHT self-care, unique to us. A type of self-care that really feeds and nurtures our talents.
I used to teach ‘Fill your cup so you can serve from the overflow.’ Now I’ve added a deeper dimension of understanding.
It’s with our talents that we make our greatest contribution to the world. We’re busy emptying our ‘talent cups’ all the time by using them. If we don’t ‘pour back into the talent cup’, it’ll run dry and we feel burnt out or tired. AND – we can’t make our unique contribution in our troubled world – which needs all the resourcefulness and goodness it can get right now!
Here’s what you can do to, step by step, for radical self-care on a deep level, which will feed your talents and contribute to your energy levels.
Step 1: Discover your talents
You can ask friends or supportive family members what they think you’re great at, effortlessly. Make sure their answers are things that are inspiring to you. Sometimes we’re great at something but we hate doing it. Ignore those answers, and ask for more. You need to ask a number of friends so you’ll get consensus and narrow it down to around 5 talents.
I believe you’ll have better results by doing a scientific online assessment to help you get really specific and accurate. The assessment I love best is the Gallup StrengthsFinder. About 13 million people around the world have taken this assessment to date. Steps 2 and 3 will work best, too, if you do the online assessment.
Step 2: Find out what each talent needs to be refilled
This is a tougher step if you asked friends. Gallup provides you with a report about your talents. You may be able to gather from there some of the contributions of each. You won’t necessarily know what each talent NEEDS in order to be ‘filled’. I’d highly recommend you contact a Strengths Coach to assist you with this important step.
Step 3: Design your self-care activities so it nurtures your talents
Create a strategy to ‘fill’ the needs of each talent at least once a week, on average. Some talents need a lot more than that! For instance, Intellection won’t be happy at ALL if you can only sit down once a week or month to think and process life in a deep way. It may need you to set aside 30 minutes daily or every other day. A coach can help you put together a strategy in a way that will sustain your energy and motivation. One which leads to joyful living and feeling great!
We know from the Law of Attraction that when we feel good, our vibration is higher and guess what? A higher vibration attracts very different things in life than a tired, lifeless energy that’s barely able to put one foot in front of the other.
If you’re in a place where you’re tired, unmotivated and have very little energy, or where you just know you need a better self-care practice and don’t really know what that would look like, I warmly invite you to contact me for a chat. If we’re a good fit, we’ll chat about this exciting new program:
New Program: Awesome Self-Care for Strong Super Powers
- We’ll first discover your Top 5 unique strengths and talents
- We’ll do deep-dive sessions to help you understand the amazing super powers you have
- We’ll work out practical guidelines for a juicy, personalized self-care routine,
- that will energize and motivate you and is sustainable and necessary to shine your light brightly
- We’ll have a fun Self-Care Challenge to help you feel inspired and motivated about your personalized Self-Care Strategy
This quote by Martha Graham puts it in the most magical and compelling way:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time. This expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”
Want to find out how to Nurture your Talents and Energy? Contact Me Today!
If you feel any kind of pull to investigate and hear about this brand new opportunity :
Contact me here on the Contact Page to make an appointment for a free 20 minute conversation to determine if this program is right for you! It can be life-changing to find out what your body, mind and soul really, really need to build your energy – and then work out a strategy so you can give that to yourself and therefore the world (as per the quote above).
Whether you’re already taking great care of your own energy and talent needs or not – I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
What are some of your energy needs? How do you recharge? Do you do this regularly? Are you a little behind in self-care? How do you plan to catch up?