I listened to a recent interview with Susan Rice, U.S. National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2017. She’s been under pressure in a way that most of us will – gratefully – never experience. Yet each of us has our own pressures, which are no less significant.
What stood out to me in particular was when the interviewer noted how Rice had managed a complicated life with a great deal of elegance. She was asked about her hacks for managing a really robust professional career along with a robust personal life (marriage and kids).
I loved her response!
First, she said “No one does it perfectly or to their own satisfaction.”
So true. It’s easy to see someone’s “outsides” and make assumptions. But honestly, we’re each doing the best we can in the moment (thank you, Brene’ Brown!). What if we decide it’s not supposed to be perfect and that’s part of the journey?
Then Rice acknowledged that along the way she learned there are certain things we can control. And that those are the ones we should focus on.
I love that she started with mindset. Simply put, “I can’t do it perfectly, and that’s okay. I will focus on what I can control.”
That’s 80% of the battle, my friends. The stories we tell ourselves control our lives. Ruminating on being busy and overwhelmed, regret of past decisions, or feeling sorry for ourselves, are all unhelpful. And our results suffer. We suffer.
Reworking our mindset is the most effective tool to change our behavior and get the results we want.
Rice continued, “I really tried to take care of myself. To sleep as much as I reasonably could. To exercise as much as I reasonably could. And to prioritize time with family and friends, because that was rejuvenating time and gave me…the strength and perspective to deal with the things I couldn’t control.”
Notice that when asked for hacks she didn’t mention a productivity app or how to get more done in less time. She went right to the foundation of what’s essential to operate at the highest level: Self-care.
Maybe you make self-care a priority. But if not, brainstorm all the ways you might begin. (And if you sometimes think self-care is selfish, take a peek at last month’s blog.) How can you take care of yourself to do all that you have in front of you?
Wherever you are on the scale of self-care, remind yourself there’s no perfect. The idea that there is “perfect” can cause as much stress as whatever else we think! If anything, start imperfect and know that it all counts. Start with mindset. 😊
Share below your #1 self-care habit.