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Are You Being Sacrificial in Your Life and Business? Three Tips to Keep in Mind.

Are You Being Sacrificial in Your Life and Business? Three Tips to Keep in Mind.

Do you ever feel that you are too busy meeting the needs of others before tending to your own needs? You make choices and decisions that put people's needs before your own and at the end of the day, you may feel exhausted, worn-out, and in a worst-case scenario, feeling resentful and bitter.

As a female veteran entrepreneur (and a single mother), I have found myself at the back of the line, letting everyone cut in front of me so that they can get what they need. I feel that I’m forever at the back of the line and yet, I’ve convinced myself that I’m fulfilling my female duties by being sacrificial in my business and motherhood. The mind is quite deceptive in coercing you to take on false beliefs, wouldn’t you say?

I’ve learned that I’m not alone in this sacrificial mindset. We have made huge advances in the rights of women over the past few decades and an increasing amount of women are becoming entrepreneurs, pioneers, leaders, and influencers. But yet, there are those of us that are stuck in the middle of “caretaker” and “businesswoman.”

How do I take care of my family, my business, and my personal needs without feeling selfish or guilty? This is a continuous question that plagues the minds of women who juggle numerous responsibilities. I’m here to share with you on how to ease up on the line-cutting behavior and start moving forward so that you can reduce the sacrificial behavior you’ve found yourself in.

Develop your courage to communicate.

When you have been used to letting others go before you and you end up sacrificing what’s important, you may have not developed the ability to communicate your needs. There can be several reasons for this.

Perhaps you don’t want to "rock the boat" and upset people, or maybe you are a habitual people-pleaser and do what’s asked, without questioning it. Or maybe it just feels weird speaking up for yourself.

When you decide to voice your concerns, you may take people by surprise. Here you are, taking a stand for yourself, embracing an “I am woman, hear me roar!” type of attitude - you could possibly be met with strange looks and comments.

It may start to feel uncomfortable when voicing your thoughts and emotions toward the people you normally put first. You are stepping outside of your comfort zone and it can be quite scary. Not gonna sugarcoat it here for you, sister!

The empowering thing about stepping into the power of your voice is that people will listen and hear you. Be able to communicate to others what’s important to you and notice what happens when you do so.

[Related: 5 Ways To Build Courage And Competence For Difficult Conversations]

Decide where to spend your time.

Each one of us, living and breathing on this planet, is given a limited amount of time to spend. Time is a precious resource that isn’t replenished when you run out. Most of us spend our time doing mindless activities such as scrolling through social media, binge-watching Netflix, or being caught in something you’d rather not be doing.

This comes to light when you sacrifice your time for others. You may have even caught yourself saying “Well, that was a waste of time” or “I can’t believe I just wasted that time doing [insert said activity.]”

To limit these incidents, decide what you want to do with your time when something comes up. Your time is your time, not anyone else’s. It is okay to say "no" when you want to spend your time the way you want to spend it. And you shouldn’t feel bad in doing so (guilt-trips are not allowed here).

[Related: One Thing You Can Do to Be a Great Supporter of Women at Work]

Set expectations.

In my personal past, I found myself taking on a little too much. I’d want to help out and say "yes" to pretty much anything that could help my friends, family members, or colleagues.

I realized I would set unrealistic expectations and drop the ball one too many times. I felt embarrassed, guilty, and shameful because I couldn’t fulfill the responsibility that I said I would take on. I let people down, and it was the worst feeling I created within myself. I realized that I was sacrificing myself with no logical reason behind it, outside of just wanting people to like me.

Today, I have realized about myself that I have to be realistic in setting expectations within my business and my personal life. No longer do I take on too many tasks or projects without understanding everything that’s involved, such as resources and commitment.

It also involves saying "no" (there’s that powerful word again) without feeling bad about it. When you set expectations for your business and personal life, you step away from the sacrificial role and step into the control role.

As women, we have many roles to play. There will be times when you find yourself in situations where a certain sacrifice has to be made and, in those times, I challenge you to question if it’s necessary. Is the sacrifice worth it to you?

These tips will help guide you in deciding if the sacrifice is worth it. You don’t have to permanently be at the back of the line. There is room for you at the front.

[Related: Choose Yourself: The Importance of Stress Management]

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Judy Skilling is a Certified High Performance Coach and U.S. Navy Veteran. She works with military and veteran entrepreneurs to maximize their productivity, enhance their wellness to have day-to-day energy, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.


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