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Why putting yourself first is key to business success

shutterstock_158235314You have probably read countless posts from me (unless you are new in my world) on getting clients, creating success and cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.

This message is a little different.

Every year, I create a yearly theme that helps me focus the power of intention in one area of my life.  As a result, a tremendous amount of growth, deepening and breakthroughs manifest themselves around that theme.

This year’s theme – LOVING MYSELF.

It has not been an easy one for me.  It’s feels like I am going up and down with it like a roller coaster.  I know this is often how it goes when we commit to something important.  And it doesn’t make it any easier.  (Does this remind you of your own journey to business success?)

Here’s my biggest realization:

I put EVERYTHING else other than loving myself FIRST.

  • I put my business before me

  • I put my wife’s needs before my own

  • I put my clients first

  • I put taking care of my team before taking care of me

  • Ironically enough, I even put my own personal growth before my own self care

And now that I am seeing this pattern of mine clearly, I am committed to changing it.

I do a lot of things right in my life, but self-care and self-love is not one of them.

So I vow that the madness stops today.


And here are just some of the ways I am going to do it:

    • The quality and quantity of my sleep sets me up for an amazing day, so I will put sleep first

    • The content of my food fuels me to have the energy I need, so I will put eating right first

    • Rest between effort is what creates growth (not the effort alone), so I will put rest first

    • Creativity fuels me and for creativity I need space, so I will not take on too much so I can have the space to be creative

Now it’s your turn.  What stops today? I invite you to answer the following 2 questions:

  • What are you no longer willing to tolerate in your life and/or business?

  • What are you going to do about it?

Then I urge you to publicly declare it like I did.  Doing it this way is an incredible catalyst for transformation.  And as difficult as it may be for you to share it publicly, I urge to write your answers in the comments below.

Thank you for allowing me to be real.




  1. Great stuff Bill. I am declaring that I am going to stop waiting for the right moment for my business and take that action now. I have been sitting on social enterprise idea for quite some time and I keep waiting for the right moment. But I know better:)

    I am going to begin action that will commit me to the process:)

  2. Thanks Bill I love your example of being real. Putting it out public is a scary thing but here goes., I am no longer willing to live with the clutter of unused goods I will give away my clutter and make room for a new life to appear.

  3. I’m not willing to tolerate doing work that doesn’t fufill me — even if it just for money. Good money. I will tell them tomorrow that I am completely done. It’s 5 weeks early. I don’t need any excuses. I’m just done.

    I’m not willing to tolerate a business that doesn’t stir me. I am what i am. I’m going to fully commit to healing & weight loss coaching, even if doesn’t quite make sense. I’ll keep the other site (just in case), but I already know what know. I feel like I have to justify my decision to the coach that I had.

    I’m not willing to tolerate not doing exercise. At least 20-30 minutes a day, I will swim or do light yoga.

    I’m not willing to tolerate spending so much time alone anymore. Don’t have a clue how to change htat, but I will.

    I’m not willing to tolerate hiding behind my computer to run my business. I’m going to setup some telemarketers, and find some some partners to work with in town on the weight loss coaching.

    I’m done trying to get support from influential leaders in the intuitive community, who don’t support what I do.

    I’m done trying to make healers work together. I’m just going to stop.

  4. Darla LeDoux says:

    Thank you for sharing Bill! It’s so easy to put others first, I’m with ya!

  5. Ruthie says:

    I vow to listen to myself before I check in with others…listen to the inner (my inner) wisdom, first and foremost. Not to let others influence my true decisions; always check in, first.

  6. Erin Furner says:

    Absolutely Bill! Thank you so much for sharing – it is so much easier to relate to people who are open about their own challenges, which is why I find myself connecting with your posts so easily. Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s going awesomely!

    Interestingly enough – the decision to love yourself first and foremost is quite possibly the hardest challenge we all face. Majority of the time it stems from our childhood where as kids, we’re expected by the adults to act a certain way, look a certain way, be a certain way – and if we meet these expectations, then we’ll be rewarded in some way, either through love, safety, etc. But by the time we reach adulthood, it can be really hard to disarm ourselves from those expectations and be really true to our own wants and needs because deep down we may fear that we won’t be loved, or safe, or we’ll be judged and ridiculed if we go against those expectations. For some, doing so (being true to our own wants and needs) might seem selfish, but if anything, it’s the complete opposite. Being true to your own inner desires and needs creates such happiness and personal power that can be so uplifting for other people, so essentially, if you work on yourself, you’re also working to help more people in life and business. Win – win!! 🙂

    So, with that in mind, I’m no longer willing to tolerate meeting other people’s expectations when it does not feel right to me. I originally studied as a medical scientist because I thought that’s what my parents expected of me. Although I loved working in the hospital field, I just didn’t feel that spark and enthusiasm but I also feared leaving because I thought I would disappoint my family. But I’m happy to report, after much inner work (over 5 years) I have since moved on from the science industry (woo!). I have started working on a program for heart based entrepreneurs to overcome their limiting beliefs (e.g. “It’s selfish to put yourself first”) around business (funny huh!). It’s still a challenge to outwardly say “I matter” or “I deserve self-love” but it’s certainly easier now than it was some 5 years ago.

    I have a 20 month old son, so I’m hoping that I can pass that on to him so self love and self empowerment is second nature to him.

    • Bill Baren says:

      Awesome, Erin. I love your desire to pass on positive patterns to your son!!! Amen to that…

  7. Bill, this post was awesome for me because of two things. First, I was really struck by how you articulated the difference between personal growth and self care. Second, creativity as an element of self-care is not something I’ve thought of before, but now that I’ve heard it from you, I’m going to get a Tour de France amount of mileage out of it!

    On the issue of personal growth NOT being the same as self-care, this line hit the bullseye for me:

    “Ironically enough, I even put my own personal growth before my own self care.”

    I love personal growth like Steve Jobs loved computers. When self-transformation is so juicy, satisfying, and red-hot effective, I can’t help being sucked into the positive cycle of doing hard inner work, getting real results, and wanting more!!!! The fact that I have LIMITS on the amount of energy I can expend on a daily / weekly / monthly basis has been hard for me to accept. It’s hard to slow down for… Life. Self-care. Chores…when all some parts of me want are more inner adventures!

    But like you, I’ve started to turn a corner on this issue over the past six months in particular. I’ve used a sleep app to improve how much and how well I sleep, a nutrition app to help me eat healthier, and an exercise log app to watch as my uninterrupted bars of exercise multiply day by day as well.

    I’ve thought of food, sleep and exercise as the triangle of self-care that forms the foundation for everything I do, but I am really inspired by how you added a fourth thing to the foundation of self-care: creativity, and the rest and spaciousness that nurtures it. I utterly love how you put this: “Creativity fuels me and for creativity I need space, so I will not take on too much so I can have the space to be creative.”

    I am blown away but what a simple, yet incredibly helpful post this was for me. I just made a very tough decision to say “no” to something that would have been a sure bet, but the wrong direction for me. I knew it in my gut and got to a place where I could grudgingly accept it, but somehow this post has infused me with more commitment to my decision because, if I add “creativity” and “the space to be creative” to my list of foundations for self-care, then this decision is in complete alignment with that.


    • Bill Baren says:

      Love your thoughtful comment and the nuance of your answers. And so glad you said “no” to something that would have led you down the wrong path for YOU.

  8. I too just realized that I must make these changes to recognize MY NEEDS so that I will have the life I desire! My self care looks like this:
    I WILL HONOR my self in all ways, I WILL Share my Gifts (and not put them last) I WILL joyfully share my self with others (positive mindset for doing presentations & meeting with clients) I WILL incorporate my desires; things I want to do, people I want to spend time with and daily repeat this statement:
    Creating my life beginning Today, I choose…….

  9. Hi Bill:

    Congratulations on realizing that self love needs to be a top priority as a coach, or as a human being serving in any form, to others. For a number of years, I’ve been coaching and teaching sacred self love to women after being burned out as a mother, wife and business owner. Without self love, we are not serving our clients our best!

    Love, Melinda

  10. Thank you for sharing yulnerability with us, Bill. Paradoxically, it increases even more my trust in you as a mentor and coach. Please continue sharing your vulnerability and humanity with us with way. It is a gift. Seeing your humanity helps us relate to you and your message more.

    What are you no longer willing to tolerate in your life and/or business?
    Making choices out of guilt and “shoulds.” and to take care of others. Such as going to France to see every single person in my family, because I feel I ‘have to” to be a “good” daughter, aunt and niece.

    What are you going to do about it?
    – This summer, I’m gonna go to France for my own pleasure ONLY. to please myself, not to please others.
    – I’m gonna do things for my PLEASURE only. I’m currently journaling about what these things are.

    STOP the “SHOULDs” in my life. Stop doing things out of guilt.

    • Love that, Isabelle – NO MORE SHOULD’s. And thank you for your awesome encouragement. I am going to France in Sept/Oct. – would love recommendations for Paris and the South of France.

  11. Dottiedee says:

    Bill, This is amazing you wrote this today!!
    The first of June after a relationship split, I decided I am going to put loving me first in my days activities. One thing I put off easily is exercising. I decided I would walk for 30-40 minutes a day out among the trees and nature. I will be going out for the evening at 6:00 so thought about just skipping. You know it wouldn’t hurt for one day. Then I thought, no I have made my commitment to myself. I am going to love myself and go now even in the heat of the day. I did and felt good. I loved myself enough not to take “no walk” for today as my choice. When I got back, read you post; I am SO thankful. I can post I did and being able to say “I did” I feels so good. Thanks Bill. Life IS Grand.

  12. Thanks Bill. Your message is very timely. I know that my pattern around over-eating is fuelled by the same essential message as worries about money – that there will never be enough. So my declaration today, and for this year, is that I will:
    – recognise that an urge to eat when not hungry is actually a call from Presence to be still
    – having recognised this, to stop, be still and simply wait while watching the mind doing it’s thing

    And free myself from a pattern of addictive eating that is keeping me stuck. Plus, I will do it 80% of the time and consider myself 100% perfect so as to avoid setting myself up for failure.

    • Beautiful.

      • And just after I posted this, I was guided to a really great book ‘Eating Less: Saying Goodbye to Overeating’ by Gillian Riley – I know it’s good because of the many great reviews it’s had from impressive sources. God works in wonderful ways! So thanks again Bill, for being willing to share your vulnerability.

  13. Bill, I love that you realized and clarified the difference between your personal growth and your self-care — I think it’s so easy for us to mistake one for the other. Lovely post and good for you!

  14. Bill,
    I am so very PROUD of you for acknowledging this first to yourself and then publicly for all of us to witness!!! I believe for most focus learning true self -care and self-love is one of the hardest parts of our transformational journeys….so Amen to you for really seeing this and taking the necessary steps to shift from being outwardly motivated to inwardly self directed, self motivated and self LOVED…..aaah! It’s a huge transition and one to be publicly applauded for!!! Good on you!!
    Often I find this one of the hardest shifts that I guide my patients through and I often remind them of the saying when your traveling in an airplane with small children….the flight attendant always says, “please put your oxygen mask on first.” We have all forgotten that in truth we are useless to others if we don’t care for ourselves and that includes self love!
    Ok……now my turn:
    I take a stand for my voice and for the voices of all people. am willing to boldly put myself and my creative gifts and expressions out into the world! To that extent, my first book, a memoir, Nothing Ever Goes On Here, will be published on 9/25th!!!! And I am in the creation of my next CD to go along with the release of this wonderful memoir of my transformational journey from a violent childhood to becoming a healer for others. A memoir that demonstrates that love and forgiveness are the greatest healers of all.
    Thanks Bill for allowing me this space to take this stand!
    Good luck with your journey…. Soon, I’ll send you a place where you can sign up for daily ideas on how to keep up your commitment of loving yourself.
    Big hug,

  15. Pat Owen says:

    I declare that I will put The Lord God Jesus Christ absolutely first in my life. I will strive to focus my life and my business on His rule- to love God and to love my neighbor, (others) – considering my neighbor more esteemed than myself.

  16. Bill, I just made the same realization. Loving yourself comes in many different forms: it can be eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, spending time with people that fill your cup… it also means saying “no” and refusing to take on too much work, and too much stress. I’m a fitness, nutrition, and mind-body coach, and I have everything else down except for the last two. I’ve just declared that I’m giving myself a break (a rest in-between efforts as you called it). It’s going to be hard, but I need to do it for my own health. It’s a great way to create shift as well, as I’m sure you know. Thanks for this honest message. I’ll be right there with you on this!

    • Glad to have you right there with me. It’s the only way to go!

      • Bill, it was uncanny that you wrote this yesterday because on *Sunday* I decided to flip my priorities. Instead of waking up everyday and focusing on what I can get done, I will wake up every morning and ask what I want to do for my*self. And, I will have some fun every day! Yesterday was GREAT – had fun, took the stress and pressure off (and still got work done). Today I’m finding it difficult to get that mindset. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to focus on training my brain on this for 6 weeks.

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