Where are you on your priority list?

I had two clients text me at the last minute to reschedule their coaching sessions.

Both involved work “emergencies” that they unthinkingly and reflexively put before their own mental wellbeing.

One had had an ‘urgent meeting’ called during her lunch hour, which she unquestioningly agreed to.

Until she texted me and I offered her the option of telling her director that she had an appointment and couldn’t make the meeting.

The second received an urgent request from her employee who had lost her mother for a phone call because she was crying. Condolences had already been offered, and bereavement leave granted. This request was for emotional support, which my client didn’t want to offer at this moment because she really needed her coaching session.

Yet she unthinkingly and reflexively cancelled me to provide this to her.

Until I offered her the option of considering her own emotional and mental wellbeing as her first priority.

Both clients had fulfilled their responsibilities in their workplace, and I was curious about why they would so easily fail to fulfill their responsibilities to themselves as women who want to live more evolved and fulfilling and conscious lives.

For me, it’s neutral – I don’t gain or lose when a client attends or cancels a session.

Coaching is all about the client – it is their haven in the week when they enter an unconditionally loving space knowing they can be whoever they are and are never judged.

Hiring a coach is an act of extreme self care, and I believe that everyone should do it.

So cancelling is an act of uncaring for yourself – it’s like cancelling your self care.

What’s fascinating to me is that both clients were really upset that they ‘had’ to cancel, but neither even considered that they had a choice.

This led to an interesting discussion about priorities, and I want to offer you this exercise:

List your top 5 priorities in order of importance.

Options include – My physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing; my family; my finances; my career/business; my community; friends; studying; service; etc.

I recommend that you put yourself at the top, because your wellbeing is required in order to be able to meet all the other priorities.

Then go back to last week’s schedule, and see whether your calendar lines up with your priorities.

Read your emails and texts and see whether your responses reflect your priorities.

For both of my clients, it was an eye-opening exercise.

Work landed as the third priority for one, and fourth for the other.

We got to be very curious about why they had responded to a demand from a lower priority at the expense of their highest priority.

This is why I am such a great believer in coaching – there’s never a right or wrong way to behave – there’s only curiosity and fascination with why we do what we do.

When we’re creating results in our lives that we aren’t happy with, we must find out what our thoughts and beliefs are that lead to us behaving in ways that create these undesirable results.

Neither of my clients knew why they were feeling so unfulfilled and stressed at work.

Which, of course, led to them mindlessly overeating many times a week.

Now they know.

They are taking actions that aren’t in line with what’s truly important to them.

And they didn’t even know.

Now they know, they can decide, consciously, what they want to create in their lives.

It’s not easy to tell a mourning employee they will have to wait an hour to get emotional support from you, especially when you’ve been a people pleaser all your life.

It’s not easy to tell your boss you can’t come to the emergency lunch time appointment, especially when you’ve also been a people pleaser all your life.

By the way, people pleasing and excess weight… Another topic for another day – I have thoughts about this 😉

But evolving into your highest and best self isn’t always easy.

And nor is ignoring your deepest desire to do so.

It’s so worth it.

Far better to honour your desire to meet with your coach, and then, feeling refuelled and authentic, call and offer your heartfelt, resentment-free support to your employee, or to return from your lunchtime coaching session refreshed and energized, catch up on the meeting, and take care of your duties without battling frustration and disappointment.

Everyone wins when you live according to your priorities.

You first.

It’s the opposite of selfish.

It’s the most loving and giving thing you can do for your people and your world.