Go Ahead. Put Yourself First.


Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting. – William Shakespeare, Henry V.

I was completely transfixed when I read Shakespeare’s quote. We so rarely admit that it is good practice to put ourselves (yes indeed, ourselves) first. In our minds we rehearse what we would say — and how we would behave differently — to achieve this. However, it is a healthy exercise that we rarely put into play.

This week I disabled the “Contact” page at The Office Blend. (No worries — I still read each and every comment that my readers share.)

Why? Well, the “contacts” were exclusively one-sided and self-serving. (Please share our study. Please read our report. Please buy our service.) This dynamic was the polar opposite of why I began blogging — to share research, exchange ideas, collaborate and help others create a stronger work life.

So, I felt a need to protect my joy in doing just that.

I decided (at least for the time being) to put myself first and shut things down.

Then I reflected on that very deliberate action — as it would likely be questioned.

When did it become politically incorrect to put “you” first?

Individuals who are gloriously happy at work, have realized this is absolutely necessary. Moreover, you cannot wait for someone else to do this for you.

I challenge you to make a little room and put “you” (and your career imperatives) first. Carve out room to focus on elements that might bring more meaning to your work life.

This is not about ignoring your responsibilities. It is simply about recognizing a responsibility to yourself.


Feed your workplace soul.

Eliminate one useless or draining element.

Say “no” strategically.

Take initiative.

Lean in to the elements that bring you joy.

Enroll in that course you’ve bookmarked.

Read the book that’s been calling your name.

Have lunch with that inspiring co-worker.

Deliberately identify what makes the difference.

Protect that fiercely.

It’s alright to put you first sometimes.

Go ahead.


Read more on the topic:

Happiness Habits That Will Make You Thrive at Work, by Jennifer Moss.

Work On Yourself First, by Donna Stonehem,

Choose Yourself by James Altucher

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

One thought on “Go Ahead. Put Yourself First.

  1. Good for you Marla! I agree that we all need to carve out that time for ourselves. By being a better version of ourselves, we are more able to contribute that better version of ourselves to our work, our community and our family and friends.


    Maree Walker
    Coordinator Workforce Strategy
    People & Culture
    Central Coast Council
    PO Box 21, Gosford NSW 2250
    t: 02 4304 4377
    m: 0408 439 603
    e: Maree.Walker@centralcoast.nsw.gov.au

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