Forget about this “oxygen mask first” focus. What are the best self outcomes you really want?

There has been a ton of talk around ‘self care’ or ‘self-care’ in the coaching community. As someone whose first gig was in the field of psychology, I’ve always been surprised at the egregious boundary issues that seem to pop up in coaching. And although the phrase is well intentioned, I have seen several talks comparing agile coaching to being “arm chair psychologists.” Hold up!

As someone who used to run a crisis line and was responsible for taking calls from people in real trauma, crisis and in the midst of suicidal ideation, I’m glad that the ICF code of ethics requires an ICF certified coach to distinguish between therapy (dealing with past trauma) and coaching. Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential

Now that the definitions are clear, I still have an issue with the term self care, no matter what form of punctuation you use. It sounds boring, meh, like a chore and something else that I need to put on my never ending to do list. I’d much rather aim for being my best self.

Being my best self is being balanced, whole and grounded. This is aspirational and something I want to do. It means sending ad hoc, amazingly horrible karaoke videos to Brian, my writing partner, just because one of his best self moments was getting up on stage at the Global Scrum Gathering in Austin in front of a live band. Being my best self is having the emotional tolerance and ego resiliency to be able to work in resistant spaces day after day, week after week.

Self care is ‘putting on the oxygen mask first’ because the oxygen masks have come down from the ceiling and the plane may be crashing. Doom seems imminent. Self care is an output based metric. Best self concepts are outcome based. Best self is fulfilling your dream of learning to pilot the plane. Let’s take off into the sunrise!

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Published by MichaeleBestSelf

Connector, Catalyst.

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