Put Yourself at the Center of Your Life

put yourself at the center Rania Anderson UNDETERRED The Six Success Habits of Women in Emerging EconomiesWhat is the best investment you can make?

Investing in yourself.

That means putting time and energy into developing yourself, the skills you need and the type of life you desire. Make yourself a priority. Put yourself at the center of your life.

This Sunday March 8 is International Women’s Day, and the theme is Make it Happen. I know firsthand that when you’re busy, letting what you want or need easily falls to the bottom of the priority list – it just seems to make the most sense. After all, with family, work, commitments, relationships, school and more, HOW could you possibly make yourself a priority?

But I am convinced that investing time in yourself, what you want and need, is crucial to everyone and everything in your life. Investing in yourself positively effects the well-being of your family, work, commitments, relationships, etc. Investing in yourself will truly be the best gift you can give to everyone else in your life. And you can make it happen!

Investing in yourself will truly be the best gift you can give to everyone else in your life.

Think about it – when you’ve spend an hour doing something important to you, you feel energized, happy, possibly refreshed. You have more to give to others.

In my new book, Undeterred: The Six Success Habits of Women in Emerging Economies, I talked to dozens of women about this topic and what a challenge it is to invest in yourself. This was mostly related to ‘work-life’ balance, or as I call it, integration. Meet two of the women in UNDETERRED – Meisa and Flavia – who shared why it was so important to put themselves at the center of their own life, and how they did it:

“Meisa Batayneh is the founder, sole owner, and principal architect at Maisam Architects and Engineers in Amman, Jordan. She shared how she thinks of her life not as “homecentric” or “workcentric,” but “me-centric.” She thinks about her goals and what she wants to accomplish at work and with her family. She explained that she holds fast to and fights for what she wants and needs at work. On the home front, the stakes are even higher.

flavia da hora accenture brazil UNDETERRED The Six Success habits of Women in Emerging Economies

Flavia da Hora, Managing Director, Accenture, Brazil

On the other side of the world, I had a similar conversation with Flavia De Hora, a managing director at Accenture in Brazil and the firm’s most senior woman in the country. I spoke with Flavia in one of Accenture’s large, open meeting rooms with huge glass windows and a breathtaking view of Rio de Janeiro. The room was buzzing with several groups of consultants having their own meetings. Flavia had a calming presence. She was soft- spoken and exhibited powerful, yet quiet boldness and authority.

When I asked Flavia about her keys to success, she shared something she thought might be a bit provocative, “In my case, the correct answer is to be a little bit selfish. Women are so worried about what others think, what others say, and what others need. I think what’s most important is for me to understand what makes me feel happy, what makes me feel okay and what I like to do every day.”

Before you get the wrong impression that Flavia is selfish, let me assure you that she is one of the warmest, most caring people you’d ever want to meet. She is an involved mother, a devoted wife, and at work thinks first about serving her clients and second about mentoring and developing women.

and now I'll do whats best for meHow does Flavia incorporate being a “little bit selfish” into all these roles? Like Meisa, her starting point is herself—what makes her feel best and what she likes to do. Through analysis of what she enjoys most, Flavia figured out the type of client to whom she can provide the most value. She also realized that leading Accenture’s women’s initiatives, which include formal mentoring and training, energizes her. At home Flavia sends her children off to school with their father and starts her day on the right foot by running along the beach. If you lived in Rio you, too, would want to start your day running on the beach!” – Habit 4: Integrate, p. 212-214

I want to challenge to you to make strides in investing in yourself in 2015. Make it happen, make this THE YEAR OF YOU. You can start small – take a professional development course, seek a mentor or sponsor make time for exercise, set a regular social engagement with a good friend – whatever it is, I promise you won’t regret it!

UNDETERRED and its companion workbook The way women work rania andersonIf you aren’t sure what your first step could be, learn more from 250 inspiring women, like Meisa and Flavia, in UNDETERRED, and invest in yourself through its companion workbook, I AM Undeterred. I am here to support and guide you on your path to success! The undeterred women I feature in the book, and the exercises in the workbook, will inspire and encourage you, no matter where you are.

Don’t wait! Invest in yourself. Make it happen, make 2015 THE YEAR OF YOU!