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Put You First

tangible techniques Aug 08, 2022

How’s your “to-do” list today? Are YOU on it? Seriously. Look at the list you made or your calendar or your schedule for the day; where are YOU on the list? At the bottom? Not on it at all?

As a physical therapist, Life Coach, mom, daughter, and professor, it’s easy to leave me off the list. It’s easy to hope I have time for self-care, meditation, or coaching.

I have a challenge for you this week: Put yourself first.

But I don’t mean it in the traditional way. There are so many techniques. Schedule exercise like a regular meeting. Meal prep. Get up before everyone to carve out 30 minutes for yourself. On and on. I’m sure you’ve read a million books and probably have an app.

These techniques are great, I’ve tried most of them. Why don’t they stick? Why are we constantly ending up at the bottom of our own lists? I won’t speak for you, but I’ve recently come to realize that I’ve been setting myself up for epic fails. Do you know how?


  1. Saying Yes when I mean No
  2. Not expressing my feelings about a subject
  3. Avoiding confrontations


Yup, that’s it. No matter how many systems I put in place, schedules I write up, apps, journals, or courses I take, here’s the thing. If I can’t say no when I mean no, then my time is not valuable to me. If I can’t or won’t express my feelings, then my own mental health is not my priority. If I avoid confrontations to keep the peace, I’m back to square one, saying yes when I mean no.


I came across these same “qualities” in an article about the trauma response known as “fawn.” We all know about fight or flight. But this “fawn” response. I’ve only recently been learning about it.


DEF: Fawn Response: “Keeping someone happy to neutralize a threat” – This can include: people pleasing, co-dependency, and holding few or no boundaries.  This definition comes primarily from the work of Carolyn Leaf.

I had heard the word before but never associated myself with "fawning." Makes me think of Sandra Oh playing the school principal in Princess Diaries. Who does that? Me. Yup. Me. And listen, not all the time and not with every person I know. BUT, when I’m struggling in a relationship, struggling to move past something or move forward, I see how these responses have been my go-to. My favorite being I say Yes when I mean No, and then I’m resentful and angry for the rest of the day.


What to do, what to do? I could beat myself up for not learning this sooner, but I’m going to take a hard pass on that.

I set an intention each day to say no if that’s what I mean. I get coaching on expressing feelings, and I journal about them. I practice hard conversations beforehand. These are the techniques I use to put myself first.

What will you use?

Talking to a coach is one of the best ways to identify your go-to strategies that aren’t working and develop new ones. Book a call today and see what it’s all about.


Want to know more about what I do? Try my new course,

"Stress and Overwhelm: Causes, Cures and Coping."

In it you will find neuroscience, practices and my signature sense of humor. All at your fingertips in the Kajabi app.



I also offer 1:1 coaching for physical therapists and other people in health care who want to love their life, jobs and career again. If you’ve been thinking, “All I need is a new job, new career, new something and I’ll feel better”… I can help you feel better right now, right HERE. 


Click the link to book a free 45 minute stress-assessment call and get started on your unique plan. 




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