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Economics & Finance

Why you need First Aid to be a great communicator and leader

Steve Knight |

The theme that runs through my previous articles is that when you truly know yourself, standing or sitting in front of an audience with real presence and genuine confidence, being the big person that you are, is not something you suddenly have to switch on there and then in the moment, because it is there with you all the time.

The theme that runs through my previous articles is that when you truly know yourself, standing or sitting in front of an audience with real presence and genuine confidence, being the big person that you are, is not something you suddenly have to switch on there and then in the moment, because it is there with you all the time.

When you can do that, you truly are the Captain of the ship. When you are the Captain of the ship, the minute you set foot on the deck, the crew simply feels your leadership presence.

So how can First Aid help you be the Captain of your ship?

In your personal and professional life you can easily get pulled in all directions by a host of other people around you. They all need and want certain things from you and many may want to influence you and even orchestrate your values, behaviours, direction and goals. You can so easily get caught up and lost in the quagmire of people pleasing and this comes at a high cost.

You can end up in a career you really don’t have a passion for, relocating to places you don’t want to be, taking on tasks you simply don’t have space to take on, not having the confidence to know your true value and ask for that pay rise or promotion, not saying no when you need to say no, pleasing your partner by doing all the things they want to do. The list can go on and on.

For many of us across many cultures around the world, the way we were raised was to put ourselves last, to always look after others first, to ensure that everybody else is happy and that their needs and requirements are met.

But hang on a minute, scratch that needle across the record and stop the same old song playing while we consider this: the golden rule of First Aid. That golden rule is to ensure your own safety before attempting to assist others and here’s why. If you are unfortunate enough to witness someone knocked over by a car, the impulse will generally be to rush in and help the person.

The rule is to resist this impulse and instead, stop, breathe, observe the scene and surrounding situation and only move in to help once you are sure it is safe for you to do so. The rationale being that if you don’t adopt this vital code of conduct and you rush out on to the road without checking, you run the big risk of being casualty number two as the next car or bus or tram comes ploughing through.

If you become casualty number two you can no longer help and in fact you become a hindrance to the very person you were trying to help, because they now have competition for assistance.

So, looking after Self is not selfish. Looking after Self in all walks of life means that you place yourself in a position of strength and are therefore best equipped and positioned to help, manage and lead others.

This doesn’t mean you have to stop being thoughful, respectful, caring and loving to those around you, it simply means along the journey don’t forget to also take care of your Self.

You need to look after Self in order to have direction, clarity, wisdom, inner and outer strength and to lead your Self to be the very best you can be.

For example, you are better equipped to help others if you…

Look after your diet and keep yourself fit and healthy through regular exercise.

Allow time for reflection about your needs and requirements and set goals and action plans to achieve them.

Identify areas of your life and career that you want to improve and undertake new learning, training and development.

So, here’s Six Questions for You…

  1. How many times have you told yourself that you don’t have the time to think, or that you barely have the time to catch your breath?
  2. How often have you told yourself that you are always running around after other people but never have time for yourself?
  3. How often do you actually allow yourself/build in to your schedule the time to stop, to breathe, to think, to listen deeply and pay attention to what your body, your heart, your mind is telling you?
  4. When did you last, or ever, write out key areas of life that are really important to you? For example, Inner Peace, Family, Career Satisfaction, New Training & Learning, Love & Intimacy, Travel & Adventure, Financial Wellbeing, Hobbies & Pastimes, Keeping Fit & Healthy, Becoming an Entrepreneur, etc.
  5. How often do you allow yourself the time to focus on what your general needs and requirements are? i.e. to be heard, to be valued, to be respected, to be significant, to be loved, etc.
  6. How often do you let those around you know what your needs and requirements are?

When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years he had the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley written on a scrap of paper. He said it was those words that kept him standing, when all he wanted to do was lie down.

The whole poem is deeply profound. The last two lines of Invictus are…

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul

So the question is, are you?

If you are not yet the Captain of your ship, the journey starts right here, today.

Never stop listening.

Never stop learning.

Never stand still.

Never go backwards.

Your ship is waiting to set sail.

Bon voyage and bon courage.

Nelson Mandela: Profile

Photo of ship’s wheel: Shutterstock – Alvov

>> This article is part of the LinkedIn Influencers series; I welcome your questions, thoughts, observations, and experiences there:


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