If you’re anything like me, you might think one of the worst things someone could call you is “selfish”.

From the time we’re small, we are conditioned against anything that may result in us being labeled that way. We must share everything, we must not draw attention to ourselves, we must relinquish the spotlight to others, we must prioritize others’ time and needs before our own. I know women especially are often pushed into the coveted “selfless” space. It’s a word you commonly hear being used to describe mothers and/or caregivers and it’s generally spoken as a high form of praise.

I used to strive for that – to be called selfless. I am innately a “helper”. I draw a lot of joy and personal satisfaction from helping people. I have always worked in a service-based career field: from restaurant management to event planning, to relationship management, to consulting, and now coaching and personal training. What I’ve learned the hard way, however, is that sometimes in the pursuit of selflessness, you do just that: lose yourself. So, now I am striving for the opposite.

At the end of this month, I turn 34. What I hope to work on in my 35th trip around the sun is on being more selfish. Not in a way that is rude to others or consistently disregards their needs/feelings, but rather in a way that makes more space for my own. This does not need to be absolute and to the detriment of the other relationships in your life. What I’m striving for, and what I’d encourage you to strive for, is a balance. Have days where you put yourself above everything else and have days where you don’t.

This balance is so important in the coaching space. Something I have recently surmised is that on occasion the struggle to complete steps toward a goal is the result of not prioritizing, but often it’s more about a lack of selfishness. People will put their action steps at the top of the to-do list, but if there’s an unexpected need from someone else, we are often quick to disappoint ourselves before we’ll disappoint someone else.

So, for this month, I’d encourage you to try to focus on that point: consider how often you disappoint yourself to avoid disappointing someone else. What would change if you did that less? How would things look and feel different if you got just a bit more selfish?

Rooting for you, and for myself!