I hope this doesn't mean I have to read "Atlas Shrugged" again.


I spent a few days coaching high-potential public health academics this week, and noticed a common problem: they struggled to complete their important work like grant applications and papers because they didn't place a priority on their own needs. (Truth is, this is a problem for many people, not just academics, but I suspect that it's more common in this world than, say, on Wall Street.) They were so committed to the needs of their colleagues that their own needs went unfulfilled. That makes them martyrs -- or saints -- which is great if you want a lifetime of free admission to the Vatican, but not so great if you're trying to, you know, get stuff done.

A healthy commitment to oneself is necessary if you want to accomplish something valuable for yourself and your community. It's the oxygen mask rule: put the mask over your own nose and mouth first, before you take care of your kids.