The Verus Team

Be Kind to Yourself

Written by: Derek Majkowski. Any opinions are those of Derek Majkowski and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.

“Be Kind to Yourself” – a recent comment made to me at the end of 2016 when I was reflecting on the past year, and considering all the goals I wanted to accomplish on the year ahead.  This was mostly a byproduct of a professional discussion, but was frankly intended holistically and personally.

It was an extremely insightful and profound statement at a time where I’m not sure I was doing that for myself, and certainly something that was helpful to hear.  It also provided some perspective, and quickly became something I have been saying more often to others who can afford, perhaps, the same advice. 

This idea of being kind to yourself is not about giving yourself a pass to neglect activities or procrastinate on starting meaningful tasks.  On the contrary, it is typically a message best delivered to those that have been very diligent at going after something, but sometimes need to get permission to pause and breath. 

It is for those that are usually so focused on some self-imposed goal, timeline, or objective that they need to get permission to stop, smell the roses, and reflect on all that has been accomplished.  While at the same time, allowing oneself the time to be thoughtful and contemplative about ones next steps and priorities in order to make constructive progress.

Over the years when having conversations with people about their financial plans or strategies, I noticed that some will impose aggressive expectations on the size, timing, and number of goals and priorities they want to tackle.  In doing this, they will either set some deadline to accomplish one or several things perceived to be important, or compare where they want to be to some other unrealistic, or unreachable, benchmark or target. 

The risk to having too many tasks, or setting deadlines and expectations that may be too aggressive or unrealistic, is that failing to meet those deadlines or goals can lead to stress, anxiety, or a sense of failure – when none of those feelings are warranted.  In addition, having too many tasks or goals can lead to incorrect prioritization; spinning one’s wheels while attempting multiple tasks with no, or inferior, results; and / or more confusion and disorganization than before you started.  Ultimately moving backwards on your stated objective.

As I was considering all that I had endured and accomplished last year, and made my big list of things I wanted to tackle, I was fortunate to have someone there objectively listening.  I was falling into the trap of not being thoughtful of where I was presently.  I was getting wrapped up in what I had to do next, and I was adding a lot of items to the list.  The spinning was happening – with no real direction. 

Fortunately, I was wise – or lucky - enough to talk it through with someone I trusted and respected, and that person helped by just simply listening to it all and suggesting one should step back from time-to-time and “Be Kind to Yourself”. 

It seems simple enough, but clearly a lot harder to act upon.  I appreciated that these words triggered me to give myself the permission to do so.  I feel a lot clearer about my path forward.