Entrepreneurship Personal Growth

Putting Your Oxygen Mask On First

April 1, 2013

You can’t save anyone if you can’t breathe. Think about it. Ever wonder why the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first? It’s because you can’t save anyone if you can’t breathe.

photo credit:

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

It makes sense. You’re not much good to anyone if you’re running on E, not firing on all cylinders. Take care of yourself first so you can serve others better.

I think it’s interesting that in the times when I am most rundown, I am the least likely to do the things necessary to get back to full capacity. And it doesn’t just affect me either. I make poor decisions, become near-sighted, and get short with my wife, Claudia.

One of the best ways I’ve found to stay sharp and living my best is to everyday invest time alone to do three things: think, read, and plan.

1. Think

Take time to think about what’s most important in your life and in your day. It’ll give you confidence in your business ventures and in life. My favorite way to think is with pen and legal pad in hand doing anything from doodling to writing out a list of pros and cons.

2. Read

Fill your mind with new thoughts and ideas. Commit to reading at least 30 minutes everyday. It will inspire and energize you. It’s said who you will be in five years is determined by the books you read and the people you spend time with.

3. Plan

What gets scheduled gets done. As entrepreneurs, we often have a lot on our plates because we’re chasing big dreams and juggling many things at once. In addition to long-range goals, set monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

Make time for the things that are actually important rather than having your days crowded out by the immediate and urgent.

Take care of yourself first so you can serve others better.

Are you investing the necessary time to be operating at full capacity? How much more affective could you be if you had a clear vision and plan?



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  • Reply Joe Lalonde April 1, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Great post Michael. I think I’m doing a good job of investing the time to operate at full capacity. I try to take the time every day to read and think. Planning is the difficult part for me but I’ve even gotten better at that.

    • Reply Michael Good April 1, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Thanks, Joe. And good work. I’ve been looking over my week on Sundays and have been really liking it. If I don’t take the time to do that, I feel a little off kilter all week.
      What are you reading now?

      • Reply Joe Lalonde April 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

        I’m just finishing up Multiple Streams of Income and about halfway through Decisive by the Heath Brothers. Both have been excellent books.

        • Reply Michael Good April 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm

          Haven’t heard of those, Joe. I’ll have to check those out. The titles sound great, especially “Decisive.”

        • Reply Claudia Good April 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm

          I just finished “Made To Stick” by the Heath brothers and loved it! I’ll have to check out this one…

          • Joe Lalonde April 3, 2013 at 6:20 am

            Cool Claudia! I haven’t read that one yet but Decisive opens your eyes to some biases we carry without knowing it.

  • Reply Tom Dixon April 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I’ve really benefited this year by setting aside some time specifically for thinking. It is too easy to just drift along, being intentional about thinking forces you to make decisions aligned with your goals.

    • Reply Michael Good April 1, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      Nice job, Tom. I’ve also benefitted from doing more thinking. I like to do things so sometimes it’s a challenge to discipline myself to really think through a problem. But I’ve seen the tremendous benefits of having a clear head, having a great vision, and making decisions, all through thinking.

  • Reply Jeff Machado April 1, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    If there’s one area I’ve been slacking on, it’s goal setting. It’s so rare that I actually sit down with a pen and paper and get those goals written down. Such a small thing I know but a great reminder. I’m going to use the rest of the night to think about goals. Much appreciated, Michael!

    • Reply Michael Good April 2, 2013 at 7:29 am

      Jeff, I never set goals until a few years ago and it’s been a real game changer. And now also really thinking through my months, weeks, and days in terms of goals has been a big help too.

      Hope your evening went well!

      • Reply Jeff Machado April 2, 2013 at 8:26 am

        The evening went great, Michael. I got some good clarity on goals I’d like to achieve and thought about how I can fit activities leading to making those goals a reality into my day.

        What are some of the goals you’ve set for yourself recently?

        • Reply Michael Good April 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm

          Glad to hear you had a good evening. One 2013 goal for my has been to have a goal setting morning once a month. It’s been a time where I review my yearly goals and see how I’m doing with them.

          I schedule this time ahead of time so I’m sure to make it happen. I don’t want something so important get crowded out by the urgent.

  • Reply Char Newswanger April 2, 2013 at 5:59 am

    I love this post! Such a good reminder. For some reason, it is so hard to implement things like this…I tend to put things that don’t feel urgent at the end of my list Aka…don’t ever get done. But in reality, these things should be priority. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Reply Michael Good April 2, 2013 at 7:32 am

      Thanks, Char! I know exactly what you mean. One thing that has really helped Claudia and me is for each of us to schedule a goal setting morning one Saturday morning a month. I know I would do it if I didn’t put it on the calendar a couple weeks in advance.

  • Reply Alana Mokma April 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I have a tendency to help others to the point of completing neglecting myself. I’ve gone in and out of setting aside time for myself first thing in the morning to read, meditate, exercise, write, etc. I think the last time I had an established time of this was before Christmas. I can tell a DRASTIC difference between my energy levels and outlook on life if I am taking this time for myself.

    Last week I started to read again – both before I go to bed at night and when I wake up in the morning. Although I’ve only been doing it a few days, I can already tell that I am more confident, can think more clearly and the little things are not overwhelming me as much as they were two weeks ago! It’s cool to see how taking this time for ourselves can empower us to be more effective in the long run.

    • Reply Michael Good April 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      Totally, Alana! I can totally relate to the benefits you mentioned here. And the crazy thing is, when I’m rundown and need the personal time the most, I don’t have the mental clarity to take it! It’s a snowball of madness!

      Keep taking that time. It’s a worthwhile investment!

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