Where’s Your Oxygen Mask?

When you board a plane, as the attendants prepare for departure, everyone is walked through the safety features of the plane. Where the exit aisles and lighting strips are for your safety and convenience. The attendants carefully walk you through how to navigate the seat as a floatation device, along with a myriad of other helpful tips should you find your life in peril at 30,000 feet.

But the one demonstration I wish everyone paid more attention to is the oxygen mask. This is one of those life lessons that people miss out on because they don’t think it will ever happen to them – yet it does every day.

This is especially true for moms, so listen up!

“When the oxygen masks deploy, please place the elastic band around your head and pull securely to ensure proper fit. Tug firmly on the end of the bag to begin the air flow. Please ensure that your mask is securely fastened BEFORE trying to assist other passengers, including small children.”

This is one of those real life lessons that people don’t always catch. Put your oxygen mask on first.

Note, this does not say that you can’t help others, or that you should apply your mask and make a beeline for salvation with no regard to others. It simply says, take care of your own NEEDS first. THEN assist others so we can all make it out of this mess in one piece.

Translate that to real life, and it means simply this: Look after your own NEEDS (not wants, desires, agendas, etc) FIRST. Then, by helping the others around you, we can all make it out of this mess (LIFE) in one piece.

How many of you take time on a regular basis to take care of yourself?

You in the back, put your hand down. The last time you took care of your own needs was before you had kids.

You in the pink, put your hand down. Ever since you got married, you put all your focus on pleasing your husband.

There may only be a handful of you with your hand still raised. Good for you!

What’s wrong with the rest of us?
Someone once said we often take better care of our pets than we do ourselves. Heck, I’ll up the ante and say we often take better care of a lot of things than we do ourselves (car? home? family? friends? get the picture?).

I’m not talking about spoiling ourselves – although that’s nice every once in a while. But when you’re taking care of your customers, running a business, building an organization, keeping the house, the kids and the hubby in line, tending to your ailing Aunt Matilda, and everything else that comes to mind, you might as well be throwing your oxygen mask in the cargo hold.

Two things are required before you assist the other passengers in life. First, secure your own mask. Make sure your needs are taken care of first.

I said needs. Not wants, not thrills, not desires and cravings. NEEDS. My Daddy used to say that you’ve got to worry about yourself before you start worrying about everyone else. Jeffrey Gitomer says to resign your position as Ruler of the Universe.

The second thing you need to do is breathe deeply. Make sure things are working properly before you jump in to lend a hand. Take some time to evaluate – but don’t stand idly by while everyone else is falling apart at the seams. Once you’ve addressed your needs, pitch in – without guilt or remorse – and do the best you can.

Where’s your oxygen mask? Are you turning blue from all the demands on your time, talent, energy, and money? I hear ya. I’ve been there.

Grab your oxygen mask and take a breath.