There are 2 key lessons I’m going to take out of 2009.  I’d say I’ll carry them with me for the rest of my life because they’ve proved invaluable already.

These may not apply to you but I’d thought I’d share them anyway.

1.  It’s extremely important to discern the difference between Responsibility and Concern.

I have a weakness that is also a source of great strength and joy – I love to help people.  Whether it’s personally, financially, in business, practically, creatively, timely – I love to help people and know myself well enough to know where I can make life better and easier for others… It’s how I’m wired. It’s part of my lineage. I can’t help myself but WANT to help. And herein lies the importance of this mantra.

‘That concerns me, but it’s really not my responsibility.’

The strength in this thought is in the power it gives me to decide where I invest my life, time and resource.  It empowers me to say ‘No’ and not feel guilty.  It helps me sleep at night. It allows me to decide what is important to me and realise that there ARE others who ARE responsible and SHOULD BE held responsible.  And when I DO decide to TAKE UP responsibility by choice, I know I can also LET GO of this also. Because the world will go on without me.

2.  Don’t mistake Self-Care for Selfishness.

Again, this is something that only YOU can rightly judge for yourself. It’s a matter of motivation, convictions and priorities. But for me this involves encouraging  myself and my wife to care for ourselves and not feel guilty about it OR take it too far into the realm of selfishness.

Our family have put a priority on health and relationships, so a couple of morning’s per week my wife gets the kids awake and ready without me because I’m on my bicycle, getting fit, feeling good and enjoying time with others.  On the other hand my wife loves to go to the gym or to dinner with a friend and I’ll be doing the solo thing with the kids.

These are things we do for self-care and we’re easier to live with and deal with because of it.

Author Rick Warren said this, ‘True humility is not thinking less about yourself, but thinking about yourself less.’  I like that… a lot… but it doesn’t mean we should neglect ourselves and personal care needs out of guilt or false humility.

Stress and burnout are killers – avoid them where possible.  You need to take care of yourself, it’s your responsibility.