Are You Looking After Yourself?
Self Care is Essential in Order to be Effective
“Most people see effectiveness from the golden egg paradigm: the more you produce, the more you do, the more effective you are. But as the story shows, true effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset or capacity to produce (the goose).”
– Stephen Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
How good are you about taking care of yourself?
In Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” he writes extensively about something called the “P/PC Balance.”
“P” stands for “Production.”
“PC” stands for “Production Capability.”
What is the “P/PC Balance,” why is it important & how does it relate to self care?
The “P/PC Balance” is a principle that is conveyed beautifully through Aesop’s fable of the goose and the golden egg.
Here is the excerpt from Covey’s book that explains the fable:
“The fable is the story of a poor farmer who one day discovers in the nest of his pet goose a glittering golden egg. At first, he thinks it must be some kind of trick. But as he starts to throw the egg aside, he has second thoughts and takes it in to be appraised instead.
The egg is pure gold! The farmer can’t believe his good fortune. He becomes even more incredulous the following day when the experience is repeated. Day after day, he awakens to rush to the nest and finds another golden egg. He becomes fabulously wealthy; it all seems too good to be true.
But with his increasing wealth comes greed and impatience. Unable to wait day after day for the golden eggs, the farmer decides he will kill the goose and get them all at once. But when he opens the goose, he finds it empty. There are no golden eggs—and now there is no way to get any more. The farmer has destroyed the goose that produced them.”
Covey explains that within this fable is a natural law, the basic definition of effectiveness:
“Most people,” he says, “see effectiveness from the golden egg paradigm: the more you produce, the more you do, the more effective you are. But as the story shows, true effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset or capacity to produce (the goose).”
“If you adapt a pattern of life,” the author cautions, “that focuses on golden eggs and neglects the goose, you will soon be without the asset that produces golden eggs. On the other hand, if you only take care of the goose with no aim toward the golden eggs, you soon won’t have the wherewithal to feed yourself or the goose.”
“Effectiveness,” Covey says, “lies in the balance – what I call the P/PC balance. P stands for production of desired results, golden eggs. PC stands for production capability, the ability or asset that produces the golden eggs.”
Caring for the goose: self-care
To illustrate the importance of self-care, this is how (and why) I have implemented the “P/PC Balance” principle in my own life:
As a writer, I am the goose. My writing projects are my golden eggs.
Over the years, I have discovered it is imperative that I get 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. This is the amount of time my body and brain need, in order for me to wake up rested, refreshed, ready and able to put in a full day’s work – effective, productive work…not just time.
This goose needs to eat healthy, high-energy foods that sustain me, especially in the early part of the day: almonds, avocado, eggs, bananas, etc.
I take hourly breaks from the computer. I need plenty of exercise – at least an hour a day. I do yoga at home five mornings a week and I attend a yoga class in a studio at least three times a week. I have a weekly massage. I require plenty of down-time to rest, reflect, read, nap, meditate, daydream, and have some fun with people I care about.
These self-care activities are my way of looking after the goose (by body, mind, heart, and soul) that produces the golden eggs (my writing, other work, and relationships). I am a happy, healthy, productive, and highly effective goose.
And yet, it astounds me how often I have been on the receiving end of snarky comments from people who say things like, “Well…it must be NICE to be able to afford the luxury of a weekly massage!”
I, too, used to believe that nonsense – that taking care of myself was a luxury – until my body nearly fell apart from overuse and little maintenance…until debilitating cluster migraines knocked me out of commission for weeks at a time.When the goose is sickly, the eggs aren’t so golden. Click To Tweet
We are not machines.
Regardless of the type of work we do—parenting, writing, policing, singing, dancing, farming, accounting, teaching, nursing, bartending—it is not a “luxury” to take care of ourselves (our physical, emotional, mental & spiritual health). It is prudent and wise…and always good for business.
Because if we don’t take care of ourselves, at some point the goose will stop producing golden eggs. Whether that “egg” is a healthy family and a happy home, a relationship, our finances, an education, business, job, profession, calling or hobby, if the goose isn’t healthy, it may not produce any eggs, let alone golden ones.What small change could YOU make in your life, to take a bit better care of…you? Click To Tweet
Related blogs by Maryanne
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
– Audre Lorde
Maryanne Pope is the author of “A Widow’s Awakening.” She also writes screenplays, playscripts and blogs. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a Director with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive Maryanne’s blog, “Weekly Words of Wisdom,” please subscribe here.