Coming Up For Air at 50,000 Feet

A familiar voice comes across the overhead speakers, “Ladies and Gentlemen, would you please direct your attention to the front of the cabin as we demonstrate the safety requirements for our flight.” I continue reading my magazine, not even looking up to see which poor flight attendant has to go through the motions for the gazillionth time. The overhead speakers drone on for what seems like an eternity, and then the words I’ve heard a thousand times before stop me dead in my tracks, “when the oxygen masks are released, please put the mask over your mouth first before assisting small children or those around you.” What an unfamiliar real-life concept: get your own oxygen first before giving it to anyone else. Is it really that revolutionary? Get your own needs met first before you’re of any use to anyone else. Our very own cultural mores deem it completely selfish to put yourself first. How often do you say yes when what you really mean is no? How often do you ignore that still, small voice of intuition that guides you in an unfamiliar, and possibly socially unacceptable, direction? You go out of your way to meet your loved ones’ needs without giving a second thought to your own. I’m here to tell you that you’re going to suffocate without that oxygen. Then what will your loved ones do?  In order to show up authentically, be of service and live your best life, you must meet your needs. Here are a few places to start:

  • Say “No” more often – As the Nike campaign wisely counsels, “Just Do It.” Remember, every time you say no to something, you say yes to something else. And in this case, it’s specifically for you.
  • Create time for yourself each week – be it a manicure or coffee with a friend, make sure there’s something in your schedule every week just for you.
  • Build ritual into your daily routine – Even if it’s only ten minutes, create a daily ritual that gives you some space and breathing room. A few things you can try include a morning meditation, afternoon walk, morning pages or a prayer and affirmations before bed.
  • Exercise – preferably every day, but at least three times each week. Get out and move your body. You’ll feel better and burn off some of that stress that you might otherwise take out on your friends, husband or kids.
  • Clear the gunk that’s right, you’ve got to clear the crappy self-talk. Whether it’s therapy, talking to a good friend or working with a coach, it’s important to eliminate the blocks and limiting beliefs that hold you back from personal and professional success.

Remember, you’re no good to anyone tired, resentful, stressed or pissed-off. When you set some boundaries and get your needs met – whatever that looks like for you – you’ll be flying high no matter what your cruising altitude. © 2011 Liz Dennery Sanders


  1. Great reminder Liz, Love it!

Speak Your Mind