Personal Boundaries and Empowered Selfishness

‘I’d dearly love some ME time, but it always seems to come last on the list’

Does this sound or feel familiar? Many women struggle with the notion of time for themselves being important enough to take priority in their busy schedules. They put their career and those they love before themselves, deeming it selfish to do otherwise. As a result they often feel tired and even resentful, that their need for personal time is not being met, and at the same time guilty for having such a ‘selfish’ thought.

So lets look at a less emotional example.
When the fuel light in your car starts to flash red, what do you do? My bet is you pull into the very next service station to put fuel in your car. You know from experience that your car doesn’t go anywhere without fuel. You don’t berate the car for being selfish when it requires refueling, you know it’s essential to continue on your journey.

So when did you decide that refueling your tank was selfish? I bet you find you have more energy to power your life and everything that’s important to you, when you take time to recharge and renew. Then maybe a better term for taking time out for you might be Empowered Selfishness, the time you take for yourself as an investment in who you truly want to BE in your life. There is plenty of evidence that we have more to give those we lead and those we love, if we have a full tank ourselves. We’re more patient, productive and focused.

The key to being successful as a leader (parent, partner, friend), believe it or not, is learning to be selfish with your time! Yes the empowered kind of selfish, it’s a necessity. So what is it going to take for you to adapt this concept into your life?

Firstly, you might want to decide what Empowered Selfishness looks like for you?

Is it a morning routine that sets you up for the day ahead? This could include meditation, exercise, quite time on the back step with a cup of tea and your journal or even making time to enjoy breakfast.

Maybe it’s a health routine which could include exercise, ensuring you eat regular meals that provide energy or is it making time for social connection with friends or time to have a massage,  or even just laying on the grass watching the clouds drift by.

For Your Consideration:

What would your life be like if you felt empowered to take time out for you? What kind of difference would that make to how you showed up in other areas of your life, your relationships, your parenting, your career for example?
We’d love to hear your thoughts and how you exercise empowered selfishness in your life


  1. Sherynne Smith on May 27, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Great article Lenore. It all comes back to what I call self-care. Self-care, or selfish empowerment, is a great form leadership too. It demonstrates taking responsibility for looking after self to our children, partners, friends and colleagues. Equally selfish empowerment is crucial to being productive in work and capable of then also nurturing others.

    • Lenore Miller on May 27, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      I agree Sherynne, demonstrating good self-care boundaries is very important in terms of role modelling for those closest to us at work and at home.

  2. Dominique Sheehan on May 27, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    On a plane they ask you to put your life jacket on first. If you look after yourself, you can then look after others.

    • Lenore Miller on May 27, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      That they do Dominique, it’s something we can certainly apply to more than just life jackets and oxygen masks. thanks for your engagement

  3. Leah Marmulla on May 27, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Yes, self care gives permission to ourselves to give back to our bigger dreams when we ask it to do that little extra. The constant push leaves very little left to give when we need that little extra.

    • Lenore Miller on May 27, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Great point Leah, self care does give us some extra fuel in the tank when we need it most.

  4. terry connell on May the 27, 2015 at 4.47pm on May 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Brilliant article Lenore, well written. I myself live a crazy busy life and know the burn out phase only to well. I have come to the conclusion your selfish if you don’t look after yourself!! you only ever give half of yourself to everyone because lack of self care will only ever leave you that!!….so keep the great blogs coming, love reading it!!

    • Lenore Miller on May 27, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks for your enthusiastic contribution Terry, it’s clear you’re speaking from experience. Hope you have some great boundaries in place to ensure you’ve plenty of fuel in your tank for those you love.

  5. Viv on May 27, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom…I know you have experienced what your share which makes it so relevant to us all.

    • Lenore Miller on May 28, 2015 at 6:23 am

      Thanks Viv, it feels great to be sharing relevant content with other awesome women.

  6. Craig Toyne on May 28, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for sharing those ideas Lenore, it is important reinforce that investing in yourself is ok. I think the term selfish creates bad thoughts in peoples minds, which should not be the case. Yes, if your selfish and cause hurt to others, then that is not a good thing. But if choosing to do something for yourself is considered “selfish”, then in my book that is a good type of selfish.
    Your idea of changing the word to change the way we perceive these actions is a great thought!

    • Lenore Miller on May 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks Craig, love the distinction you make between selfishness that negatively impacts others and empowered selfishness which is taking care to do things for yourself.

  7. Your Emotional Reservoir – Lenore Miller on February 9, 2016 at 10:37 am

    […] what are your boundaries? The things you put in place which are non negotiable, for example leaving work by no later than […]

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