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Putting Yourself First at Work

Putting Yourself First at Work

As professional women, we often put others first — whether it’s that teammate who needs help on a project, that manager who asks you to cut your vacation short to meet a last-minute need (which I hope never happens, but it has happened to me!), or the company really relying on you to hit those goals. Whether you don’t have the bandwidth, the time, the skills, or the resources, there are so many times in which we’re putting the needs of others before our own.

[Related: Don’t Wait for Your Company to Help With Work-Life Balance]

But when you feel like you’re constantly putting others first, it’s draining. It can hinder your career. And that’s true across the spectrum of career stages. You deserve to make time for yourself in the midst of your hectic work life. But how?

  • Carve out a safe space for yourself. This is a space where you don’t have to be guarded. Where you don’t have to put walls up. Where you can talk through things and get the kind of support and validation that’s key to processing your unique situation. Where people are invested in you. All of this makes investing in yourself easier.
  • Wash, rinse, repeat. Safe spaces aren’t a one-and-done deal. Meeting with your “personal board of directors” on a regular basis allows you to build stronger relationships with the people who are already invested in you and can keep you accountable to yourself.
  • Give back. Further the cycle of support by returning the favor to the others in your safe space.

If this all sounds daunting, that’s understandable. But at Ellevate Network, we’ve perfected the art of creating safe spaces for professional conversations. The Ellevate community of professional women+ has shown me time and time again how inclusive they are, how welcoming, how open, and how focused they are on supporting one another and giving back.

[Related: How Time to Think Can Help You Do Your Best Work]

During the pandemic, we heard from our members — managers, rising leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, and career changers alike — that in times of such transition and uncertainty, they felt alone and unsupported in their path forward.

Out of this need came our Roundtables. These weekly one-hour sessions offer our members a regular chance to connect with peers about varying topics based on their career stage — such topics have included getting on a board, building your brand, managing teams, becoming more inclusive, and creating change from within.

The secret sauce of the Roundtable comes after the short presentation from a community expert, when attendees are sent into smaller breakout rooms for 10-15 minutes. In their breakout room, attendees are able to take what they’ve heard, internalize it for their life, and get feedback from others in the room. From a personal standpoint, our weekly Executive Roundtable has turned out to be the highest ROI on my time, because I’m building professional connections every week, I’m learning, I’m supporting others, and I’m exploring these themes and ideas so relevant to my career.

We don’t take this time enough to give ourselves that type of support, determined as we are just to make it through the day-to-day. So if you’re looking for a regular place to find support and give it in return, I can’t recommend one of Ellevate’s Roundtables enough. No matter where you’re at in your career, there’s a Roundtable for you. You deserve it.

[Related: Employee Burnout is Creating a DEI Emergency]

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Kristy Wallace is the CEO of Ellevate Network.


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