Thanks for joining me. Read on as I teach you to be more selfish [and how that will help you avoid anxiety].
I was so consumed with trying to please people for so long that eventually I started having stress induced panic attacks.
I worked long hours, commuted for 3 hours every day, earned a top salary, was a ‘good employee,’ and tried to keep everyone happy.
I tried to be a good father and husband with the little time I had left in my day.
Still not content with doing enough I even convinced my wife that we should start another business on the side, hoping to get some more money in the bank for retirement or some other unnecessary purchase. So now I could work when I got home from work.
Often, I would get home from work, grab something to eat, and then go straight to work on my start up. I would finish at midnight, only to fall asleep and prepare to do it all over again.
The fucked up thing is that many people actually admired me, “Look at Tim, he’s doing his best. Trying to provide for his family, working hard. It’s not easy you know.”
In that culture, lack of sleep was worn like a badge of honor. The less sleep the better, as then you could be more productive and get more done.
During this time I never thought about myself. I was just trying to scrape through each day and hold everything together. I needed to be more selfish.
“Must keep work happy.”
“Must keep wife and kids happy.”
“Must make more money.”
“Must keep up appearances.”
“Must neglect my own well being.”
Whenever I’d go away on business trips I was torn. My wife would be waving me off, frequently with tears in her eyes, as I’d be leaving her to look after our young family, while I went off for some unnecessary meetings. On the other hand, I’d have my boss phoning me and encouraging me to get out more.
Now I know that it was impossible to keep everyone happy. There were just too many incompatible things in my life.
But, that’s not how it works. I tried.
Eventually after trying to people please for long enough, my mind and body said enough is enough and threw Anxiety at me. It hit me like a dirty sucker punch in a beer league hockey game.
One day things were normal enough and the next I experienced a severe public panic attack, which turned my world upside down. Everything I’d been working to build was crumbling (in my mind at least anyway) and I made worse case scenarios my favorite pastime.
I managed nothing for myself until then.
No consistent exercise
No concern to nutrition
I suppose on reflection it makes sense. If you never invest in yourself, why would you expect to be in good shape mentally, physically, spiritually, or otherwise?
What I’ve come to learn is this – In order to be the best version of myself. I HAVE to come first. If you’re not selfish, you’re selfish. Selfish in that you’ve chosen to not fully show up in the world. Selfish because you’ve actively chosen to not choose yourself. Selfish because the people around you never actually get to see the real you.
Why you need to put yourself first and start being selfish:
Be More Selfish Reason #1 – Physical Health
Let’s start with an easy one. If you don’t take care of your body, your life will be limited. Maybe limited in how long you live or how fast you can run or how much energy you have in the day. But it will be limited. I chose to put myself first in this regard now. My gym time is sacred and is often the first thing I plan in my day. It’s non negotiable. Do I always love it? No. But it’s not a conversation anymore it’s a default. Because let’s face it, without regular exercise, everything in life is harder.
Be More Selfish Reason #2 – Mental Health
Pumping iron is visible, flexing the old grey matter however is all to often neglected. Some people still think working on mental health is a ‘woowoo’ waste of time, but it can make a huge difference. Spending 30 minutes a day journaling and meditation alone can be transformative for those willing to give it a try. Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Start with guided meditation and try out a journaling method called “morning pages”. There is no right or wrong.
Be More Selfish Reason #3 – Get Some Space
We’re so much in demand today that we forget what it’s like to be alone or just have our thoughts and nothing else to entertain us. I can say from personal experience that my biggest breakthroughs have been when I took a couple of days out, alone. And had time to really work on me. I’d never stopped before. In 30+ years of being alive, to reflect on my life and ask myself what parts of it I was happy with and which didn’t serve me at all. In that space I made the biggest decisions of my life. Leaving my job, working on my relationships and uncovering my gift.
When is the last time you took a whole day to just be with yourself, consider your life, and ask if you’re on the right path?
Be More Selfish Reason #4 – Upgrade Your Relationships
I always hear, “well they’re my friends,” or, “well it’s my family” but here’s the truth: it’s a choice. You decide who you engage with and what you fill your head with. So if your getting dumped on by people that you speak to, change the people you speak to. It’s your choice and you must face the consequences my friends.
Be More Selfish Reason #5 – Work for You
This doesn’t mean you have to literally work for yourself and be an entrepreneur. What I mean is this: if you’re not putting yourself first in your choice of occupation, it’s going to cost you. Do you work for the job that has the most career progression or prospects? Or maybe they just happen to be the company that pays the most cash.
One huge lesson I’ve learnt is that – more or less – money isn’t what makes me happy in my work.
Be More Selfish Reason #6 – Find Meaning
This ties into #5. If you chased a career due to parental or societal expectations, you may find it hollow. I did. When you can immerse yourself in work that is both fulfilling for yourself and serves others you tap into a wonderful energy source.
Don’t know where to start? As James Altucher says, practice writing down 10 ideas a day. After doing this for a while you’ll build up your, “Idea Muscle”
If you’d told me a few years ago I’d be an Anxiety/ Stress coach, helping people to overcome their adversity I’d have spat out my monster energy drink and laughed.
But now this work is what lights me up every day.
Be More Selfish Reason #7 – Get Grounded
Go for a walk without your phone, regularly. Sounds so simple but very few people actually do it. I believe there is great power in connecting with nature, listening to the birds, and smelling the smells. It gets us out of our heads and reconnects us. The freedom we all seem to crave so much is there for the taking, every, single, day. Grab 20 minutes and be free.
Be More Selfish Reason #8 – Develop Your Self
Always wanted to play the piano or learn Spanish? Do it then. Self development is often cited as one of the keys to happiness. I get this from retreats, masterminds, and also reading books. To take it a step further, share your newly learned capabilities. It’s powerful stuff.
Be More Selfish Reason # 9 – Nurture You
When was the last time you took a break, guilt free. Maybe to head off to the movies alone or binge watch some Netflix without feeling like you should be doing more. Maybe it’s getting a hair cut or beard trim followed by a nice cup of tea at a coffee shop (yes, I’m English). Often, as we transition through tough times, we focus on self-judgment rather than self-compassion. Be gentle and realize you’re enough.
Be More Selfish Reason #10 – Be You
This is the biggest thing you can do to honor yourself and your truth. Something I’ve come to learn the hard way is that the more out of alignment we are in our lives, the more we will struggle in all aspects of life.
What I can tell you is this: if you’re not putting yourself first there is no way you can be the best husband, father, son, brother or person.
Ironically the scariest moment in my life, the first panic attack, has ended up transforming my life. Now each time I feel that fear I know that if I lean into it, the growth and learning will be on the other side.
Being Selfish ends up being the most effective way to help myself and others.
Tim JP Collins is The Breakthrough Anxiety Coach and supports people suffering with Anxiety, stress and panic attacks. Tim’s approach isn’t just about coping, it’s about moving past Anxiety and fear to live the life you were destined for.
Tim worked in the corporate world as a Vice President of Sales for 15 years, so is well versed in the business space. He ultimately decided that wasn’t for him and was drawn towards supporting others, to live anxiety and stress free while going big in their lives.
Tim has also spent time in Entrepreneurial and Real Estate fields, starting a business with his wife in 2007, in their spare time, which went on to be brand name in the infant market and was acquired in 2015.
Tim is the creator & host of “The Anxiety Podcast” Each week Tim interviews people that have stories that you will be able to relate to. The interviews are raw, real and vulnerable and people share what’s really going on for them.
Tim believes that the more out of alignment we are in our lives, the more Anxiety & Stress will show up. So he really looks at the bigger picture when working with clients.
Or, if you’re feeling a little old fashion you can just email him: [email protected]