During a teammate’s 1 on 1 meeting today my friend Joy mentioned a bit of advice intended to help the other teammate. It’s a piece of advice I’ve heard her say many times in the past, but for whatever reason it hit me right between the eyes today.
“When the flight attendant is giving instructions, what do they say to do with the oxygen masks? Put yours on first before helping others with theirs.”
As the words came out of her mouth I was also reminded of something Father Mark said in one of his sermons, “If you would be a river, first you must be a reservoir.”
In an instant so many realizations came to mind and I looked around me with clarity. While trying to focus on helping others and solving other challenges I suddenly saw the chaos I have around me. The piles of papers around my desk were suddenly visible. The lack of clarity in my focus was evident. I’ve been working so hard, but I haven’t necessarily paused to breathe over the past couple of weeks. Sure, I had some time off, but even that was a blur and I truly shut work out of my brain the overwhelming majority of that time away. With that one phrase I saw the need for me to pause, take a deep breath, and focus.
This evening I’ve been going through much of the clutter and have started clearing things out of my way. I’ve still got a lot to work on, but I can see the trail now. Before focusing on anything new I will be taking time to put my oxygen mask on first. This doesn’t mean not helping others, rather, it reminds me that to truly help others as much as possible I need to get myself on track.
Tonight I’ve started to put my oxygen mask on first and will be able to better serve my teammates with it on properly.