Optimise Your SEO Career: Is it OK to be Selfish?
Is it OK to be selfish? This personal trait often has negative connotations but in this week's episode Tazmin and Sarah discuss why it's OK to be selfish sometimes...
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The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that will give you actionable tips, guidance and advice to help you not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.
Each week we will cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics too including professional and personal development.
Your hosts are Life Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years of experience working in the industry.
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of the SEO mindset podcast where your hosts are myself, Sarah McDowell and absolutely fabulous Tazmin Suleman. So this podcast is for SEO professionals, where we give actionable tips and advice so that you can optimise your career and not just the algorithms. Right. How are we doing Tazmin?
Doing really well, really well, it's sunny. I've heard him talk at the lake. And somebody said to me, when you talk like that, it makes it sound like the lake is yours. So this is weird this morning, when I went, I thought, actually it is this is just an extension of my back.
Sarah 0:53at I own. So you went to MKGO:
I know. It was at Red Bull. There was a cause cars. It's it was very, it was a really nice venue. Really nice and really good event. Great speakers, great mix of talks. great mix of presenters. That was really good. Got to meet some new people and got to meet some old friends talked about the podcast talks about that's really lovely people.
Ah, wonderful, wonderful. Well, I had a couple of days off. So I was off work Thursday and Friday and had a road trip to Bristol. Because I have a friend that lives there, which is really nice. I feel like I'm doing a lot of commuting all over the UK at the moment. But you know, I quite quite like driving. I don't I don't know if you've heard about something called a podcast. You may or may not be familiar. You may have me stuck
Unknown Speaker 2:07
Way back in the past when we used to have CDs in the car. But yes, yeah. I think somebody called Sarah introduced me to this concept of podcast.
Hey, it might be a fad. But you don't know. But yeah, I live long trips, because you can just put on your favourite podcast. Have a drive? Have some me time? Yeah, I do enjoy your drive. I do enjoy drive. Right. So this week's episode Tasmin. I'm quite looking forward to it because I enjoy doing the research and putting this one together. Because I think when people like see the title, they're going to be like. So we're going to talk today about whether it's okay to be selfish, right? So, when we hear the term, or being being selfish, right, it's normally comes with it negative connotations, right about being self centred, self serving self involved. So normally, we think, Oh, it's not great to be selfish. And on top of this, we're also taught to not only think about ourselves, and our own interests, but we should be putting others first as giving is much better than taking right Would you Would you agree with that their usual consensus?
I used to think selfish meant on caring, and loving. And that didn't sit well with one of my favourite roles in my life, which is being a mother. Right, there's a, there's a real tussle, there was a real tussle. So I'm interesting to hear what your research you've come up with, because I'm on my own journey with this. Yeah.
Yes, well, basically. So me and my girlfriend, Tash, were talking about this. And afterwards, oh, this would be a really good episode for the podcast. Because I am going to try and convince you and our listeners, that it's okay to be selfish, because it's part of self care. Right? And we should all do self care. We should all look after ourselves. And we need to stop thinking so negatively about the term selfish. Okay. So, think about it like this. We've all cancelled plans, because of many different reasons. Like say, for example, you've had a long and hard stressful day. You've had something upsetting happen. You find out that an ex or someone is going to be at a dinner that you don't want to see, like, there's lots of reasons, right? Where we cancel plans or, or we just say no. Okay, so we get asked to do something like, for example, I was asked if I wanted to go for dinner this weekend. And normally, I suffer so much with FOMO. And I also don't want to let people down. So I'd always say yes, if I'm invited to something, and I've got no plans, I'm a yes person. I'm a people pleaser. Whereas I was proud of myself, because I've had a busy week, and I've got a busy Sunday. And I said to myself, Saturday is going to be for me. Okay. So I said no to these plans. I said, Thank you for the invite. But but now I'm going to, I need a me day, and it felt quite liberated, right. And I think we've all done this. But when we do this, we can end up feeling guilty, okay. Or, we, there has been times as well, where you can't sleep at night, or you're struggling to sleep or you're worrying about something because of how you've dealt with things, right. But we need to stop beating ourselves up and be kinder to ourselves. Because, yeah, like this whole episode is all going to be about why it's okay to cancel and say no, if we're putting our mental health fair, so think of it like this. When you're on an aeroplane, okay, you're always told, like in an emergency, you should put your own oxygen mask on, before sorting out others. And also, if you are entering a scene of an accident, you're always taught to check if it's safe, before you're going to help someone. So it's the same with saying no to plans and be unselfish, right. So yeah, what what do you think to that,
I think over the years, so I used to be like this, I would put everyone first if somebody said, I'm having a dinner party meal, what can I bring? That that would take up so much time I'd be retired. And I'd start resenting, I'd resent them for inviting me, which is stupid. I'd resent myself, I'd resent the time. So over the years, I've become better asking myself this thing that I've been asked to do. Does it help me in any way? Does it help me reach my goals better? Is it you know, am I going to feel better? What's the return on investment? Now, sometimes it may be so my sister in law's called us for dinner? I think, yeah, actually, you know what, that'd be really nice. If not seeing them for a while. I'll be happier, my husband will be happier because he'll see his sister. We have a lot of fun. Actually, that's going to be really good for myself care, because I'll have an enjoyable evening. And as I'll say, yes. But there have been times when we've been invited. And I'll say two ways that you know what, I need to get this and this and this done. And if I want to get those done, I can't go there. And then it's a conversation whether they get he goes on his own weather we rearrange. And it's been really clear about what is it that you're trying to get to in life? So I don't I don't that tend to say yes to things. That don't help me be a better person. Is that? Yeah, yes. So I'll give you an example. Last Saturday, we were expecting guests, I've never met these people. There has things cousins. And we thought they were going to come at six o'clock in the evening. We were also dropping my nephew to the airport. And I say that I said, Oh, we're going to be so close to south or why don't we go for brunch in South Hall? I thought that's great idea. Let's do it. So the other thing we try and do is find date time rather than, you know be spontaneous about spending time together. It doesn't always have to be a particular time of the week. Then we found it and I had you know the beds to make up food to cook this to do that soon. Turns out they were coming much earlier and I went back into old familiar panic mode. I know what's going to happen to the and I thought no, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter because every time we say yes to something to people, please we're saying no to something else. So we're always saying no. And it's usually to ourselves. But we went for brunch, it didn't matter that everything wasn't perfect when they arrived. And I actually had never met her before. And I said to her, Look, this is who I am, this is my truth, you know, I'm not a perfect hostess. And she appreciated that because she could relax. So think we give ourselves a worst case scenario of, if I say no to this person, I'm bad. Life is terrible. And we, it doesn't have to be like that.Sarah:
Yes, and I mean, thank you so much for sharing that with us. And it kind of nicely leads me on to my next part, because I think we've both shared times of when we've been more selfish. And it's, it's been, it's been okay. So now I just want to share some other examples of when it's okay to be to be more selfish. And please chime in Tasmin with any thoughts as I'm going through these, but first one is, if you need help with something, so a work project or an unbiased opinion, right. So, with the Work Project, especially in SEO, with taking on new things all the time, okay. You might be asked to do something that you've not had experience with. It's okay to be selfish here and ask ask for help. Don't just take that on yourself. Or maybe you need an unbiased opinion. So maybe there's a situation at work which has upset you, or something has happened. Can you get an unbiased opinion? Can you talk to someone who isn't isn't related to the job isn't related to you, and talk about what has happened and be selfish and talk about your emotions and why that upset you?Tazmin:
I think, you know, reframe it. If you need somebody to help you with something at work, you're giving them the opportunity to teach share knowledge that they have, you've got the opportunity to make a new connection. And you've got the opportunity to learn. So I don't see that as selfish as at all. And an unbiased opinion. You said therapy, I'd I'd add coaching to that. If nobody wanted to accept coaching as a way of helping themselves. Well, what would I do?Sarah:
Yeah, definitely think Yeah, yeah. Number two, it's okay to be more selfish. When you need, you need rest, okay. So not just physically, so, but also mentally or emotionally. Okay. So whether that's a social with friends, maybe that's C and family, but even in the work aspects, so maybe you all go for a drink after work, or there's an event or there's a project or something like that. It's okay to say no, if you need that rest, okay. So yeah, 100% be more selfish and I want at the end of this episode, I want people to think being selfish is a positive, okay? It's no longer negative. You need a loan, you need alone time. Okay? That's a great time to be selfish, like so for example. Like when I have the time, I'm like, I'm going to be in my pyjamas till till lunchtime, or it depends how much time you've got that you can put aside for you. Like, if you've got a busy work, and you've got children and family and stuff, maybe you can carve out an hour or half an hour. Can you go and have a bath? Can you go in be out in nature? It's okay to say no to stuff if if you need time.Tazmin:
Yeah. One of the things I teach on one of the courses, I get people to work out what they enjoy for self care on their own, and almost make themselves a menu. This is something I can do in five minutes. That helps me revitalise 10 minutes, and they do this menu system beforehand. So if they're feeling a bit stressed on the day, you know, Christmas is coming up, we all know what that can feel like, rather than at that time to think about what's going to help me. They go to their menu and think right, I've got 10 minutes. Here's my 10 minute menu.Sarah:
Amazing. Amazing. Yeah, because then, yeah, I love that. Okay, yeah. Awesome. Awesome. And this is a biggie, okay, so it's okay to be selfish. If it's time to end a relationship, a job or a living situation, okay? Anything that is causing you pain, or you're not happy? Or do you know what I mean in relationship that this isn't just romantic, but think of all the relations internships you have work relationships, friend relationships, like, obviously, we need to work at stuff. And yeah, like you're gonna bang heads occasionally. But if you feel like, I don't know, like a certain relationship or certain job or certain situation is giving you more pain and grief than positive stuff, maybe it's time to have a look at that. So be selfish, put yourself first. And another big one is you're doing more giving than taking. So earlier I said that when we're like younger, or or one of the things that we're taught is we should put others first. It's really good to give rather than take. But you do need a balance. Right? And you know how early it has been you said about in the past, with your people pleasing and saying, yes, you ended up with resentment, okay? If you've not got a balance between giving and taken, that's going to happen, okay? Like, obviously, in whatever relationship with friends, family work, like a romantic relationship, there are going to be times where you're doing more giving, or you're giving, or you're doing more taking, but you've just got to be more mindful. Because if you are doing more giving, then that's just gonna lead to more resentment.Tazmin:
I think on relationships, it becomes multifaceted. And on many of these, it's multifaceted. So if you're giving more in a relationship than taking, yes, being selfish, and having that alone time, can help you process it. But it's also about then having a conversation, and how best to do it. So I would say that time alone, that time for self care, will give you the space to process the space to regain your energy to reframe how you're going to have that conversation rather than getting to the point of being burst at bursting point and then just spew stuff out, which is no good in a relationship. If I think about my business, and the time I spend on my business, one could argue I could spend that time with my children. Now my children are grown up. If we carry that force, you know, fast forward that 1015 years and I said okay, I'm not going to do the business, I'm just going to be there to cook for you to clean for you to facilitate your life, there will come a time when I will then start depending there on them from my happiness. And in the end, that's going to be something that they will resent this way me being able to look after my happiness look after my fulfilment. So in a way, it's selfish, but actually, it's providing for a far more healthier relationship between me and the kids. Yeah.Sarah:
And you've made a really good point there. So this idea of being selfish, it's not just about putting yourself first and like listening to your, to your body and what you need. But also, if you're taking better care of yourself, you're going to be in a much better position, to have healthy relationships, whether that's work, friends, family, those relationships are going to be much more healthy, there's going to mean like, and that's the important important thing here. And the last, the last one is a biggie. So it's okay to be more selfish, if you are doing it to avoid burnout. Okay, so we need to stop saying yes to things. Like because we're, if we're a bit of a ticking time bomb, there's only so much that we can take on. And if we keep saying yes, and we keep adding, like it's not just that's going to have a negative effect on ourselves, right, like an burnouts, awful. And it's not just going to affect you physically, but mentally and emotionally. So I suppose and I'm hoping like, at the end of part two, we're going to take a break because obviously there's a lot of information. So we'll take a break so we can gather our thoughts and have some reflection time, but I really hope that people are thinking at the end of this part one, like flipping how I am going to be more selfish, it's okay to be selfish.Tazmin:
I think you can only do what you can do if you're in the best possible state. So, if you're healthier, if you're emotionally healthier, if you're emotionally charged, if you're charged, you're going to be able to have better relationships, better work. Work success, better happiness, better everything. The more charged you are, it's a bit like saying This mobile phone will work for me everyday do exactly what I want it to do. But I'm never going to put it in the socket. I'm never going to plug it in and charge it doesn't work. It really, really doesn't work. There'll be a time and you wouldn't expect it to work. If you saw that phone wasn't working, you'd say, oh, it needs to be charged and you'd plug it in. So why do you think you are any different?Sarah:
I flippin love that. I mean, analogies and things like that. It's a great way to like, hammer home this point, because you're right, right. Like things are gonna run out of charge. And we're the same. So that that's that's an amazing way to think about it. Right. Shall we take a short break Tasman and when we're back, I am going to teach you how to be more selfish. We are back with part two Tazmin? Have you got your tea?Tazmin:
Had my tea? I'm still sipping. It's really nice.Sarah:
This is good. I need some water. Because I feel like I need a bit of hydration in my life. So reflection, tell me what's your main key takeaway from part one?Tazmin:
I suppose I'm already sold on the idea anyway. But for me it is. But I wouldn't have been five years ago, I wouldn't have been. But for me, being selfish. Self care isn't selfish. I've actually written a poem about this, maybe I'll put it in the in the notes. Self Care is looking after my physical physical health, emotional health, my career health, so that I can be the best person I am, I can be. And then I can give that best person to the people around me. If I don't look after myself, I'm not going to be the best me. And actually, they get a slightly default version. Do not default defective version. So in a way, self care is absolutely vital for all of the relationships that you have in your life with others.Sarah:
Yeah, yeah. And I want to put it to you as well, that like self being selfish is positive, right? So the term selfish, it shouldn't have negative connotations. We should be like, if someone causes selfish be like, Yeah, I'm selfish. So what, I'm putting myself first.
Think we should get stickers, selfish and proud!
One day, one day, we'll have merch and we can go to town. Right? Are you ready to learn how to be more selfish? Okay, first one, create a sleep schedule. Right? So sleep is so so important. Okay. And it's hard, right? There's gonna be times where your sleeps interrupted. And yeah, but if you can put a sleep schedule together. That is the first step in saying, You know what I'm putting myself first. So putting a sleep schedule together. You want to on your way to self care, right? Because we all know that sleep is important. So if you're put in time to put a schedule together, and sometimes you're gonna sit to it, sometimes it might be hard, like so for example, Benny, the dog does very poorly at the moment. So Tasha was up at three o'clock in the morning. So there's got to be careful rules. But yeah, if we can, we need to create a sleep schedule.Tazmin:
This is one area I really need to get better at. Because I've read lots of research that says that the body does a lot of repairing at round about and at 10 o'clock ish. And if you're not going to go to bed until 11 12 o'clock you've used you've lost that opportunity. So in my ideal world, I would get into bed at half past nine, do some journaling, and then by 10 o'clock lights off. But it doesn't always work for me because my husband works far away. Sometimes by the time he comes home. Sometimes we're not eating dinner until nine but definitely need to be a lot more disciplined. Maybe that will be my goal for the next couple of weeks.Sarah:
Like it, I'll ask you and then there's some some accountability. Number two is self inquiry. And so I've got a quote here from a licenced a licenced psychologist in Pittsburgh called Dr. Natalie Bernstein. And they say using the word selfishness implies that you are choosing your needs above all others. without regard for their feelings, rather than thinking of the act of taking care of yourself as selfish, try to see it as necessary for your own mental health. Once you take care of yourself and address your needs, you're more likely to be available to help others in a more meaningful way. So what we're saying at the end of part one, so, what she goes on to explain is check in with yourself, okay, self inquiry, in order to give yourself what you need, you have to have some awareness. So ask yourself, How am I feeling right now? What is it that I need? And again, this relates back to what you were saying earlier? So you ask yourself, don't you Tasman? This thing that I've been asked? Is it what what do I get out of it? What what's in it for me? And, and this just builds on that. So with being selfish and self care, we need to like ask that How am I feeling right now? What what do I need?Tazmin:
Completely agree. And that she after my journaling process at night, I ask myself, okay, so what happened today? What do I need? But yeah. Like, for me, I can't stress how important it is to keep checking on yourself throughout the day, before a situation before a meeting before dinner before anything just check on yourself. How stressed Am I feeling? How happy Am I feeling? What do I need to I need some alone time? Do I need to go out for a walk? Do I need to replenish? Do I need to hydrate? What is it Dinis have a conversation with somebody and the more you know yourself, the more powerful you'll feel.Sarah:
So, I bit of homework for our podcast listeners every day, at some point in the day, I want you to ask yourself those two questions. So how am I feeling right now? And what is it that I need? And after you've done that, make sure that you listen to yourself. So just do it once a day or once a day is too much. Try and do it a couple of times a week or once a week. Okay? Let's all start self inquiry number three of how to be more selfish set aside me time so something that I've started to do is as I feel like a month is getting a bit booked up and things are coming in I'll start to put in might physically put in my calendar and my personal calendar block it out me time. And I found that by me doing that. I don't know if it's something in my mind or psychology, but I make sure that I keep that time for me. Yeah. Any other tips on that? Or is that pretty?Tazmin:
For me it's morning every morning I will get up a little bit earlier than everyone else and I've noticed that when other people's sheduled change and they've got to make an early morning trip and it coincides with my alone time at home. It really knocks me off balance hurt so it's about creating that space as well saying okay, this is my my little bit of space and I've I've created this little bit of space in the spare bedroom I've got a candle got a lamp and that's where I go for reflection time meditation time and that gives me that boost I need that's my recharge pointSarah:
I suppose as well what we need to remember is you might think that snoozing your alarm right getting more sleep is me time now I don't think that kind of I mean it could but I don't know I think me time you need to like do something for you like that's that's positive like yeah so unfortunately snoozing that alarm, doesn't, I wouldn't say classifies as me time.Tazmin:
I agree, and can I burst another bubble as we're oh god we might think Netflix is me time and to a point yes. But how many times when you view binge watch something and saying another episode another episode and you end up going back to bed later. You can feel that negative return on investment with each episode you watch. Yes Have some time. But say you know you finish work at six and by eight o'clock you know dinner is done. Say nine o'clock you sit down with any prep you need to do and I know if you've got young kids or if you've got other caring responsibilities This isn't going to map out for everyone. But say at nine o'clock you sit down to watch one episode. And then it's 10. If you go to bed at that point and lights out at 1030, you're more likely not to snooze that alarm, and you're more likely to be able to get up 15 minutes earlier. Now, those 15 minutes earlier may be enough time for you to sit down on your own with a cup of tea and just rest your mind, plan for the day, whatever it is you want to do, read a book that you've been meaning to read. If you binge, another two episodes of that series that you're watching, and go to bed at 12 Lights of at 1250, you're more likely just to fall into bed. Maybe you won't brush your teeth as well. Maybe you won't do your skincare at all. Just fall into bed. You're not going to get up earlier, you'll probably snooze and get up later. And that 15 minutes of quality time that you can give yourself in the morning. You're not going to have it's gone.Sarah:
It's gone. Yeah. Wonderful. Wonderful. So yeah, have have some boundaries. Okay, some other ways to be more selfish. And practice saying no. Okay. Get get get into the habit of saying no to things. It's okay. Ask others for support. So I think we addressed this earlier, shift your thinking. So again, this, this advice comes from Dr. Bernstein. And she says that we need to remove any judgement and words such as, okay, this is an interesting one. So yeah. So what she's saying is that we need to remove words such as selfish from your vocabulary, and begin to think of your actions as positive steps for self improvement. So yeah, so you can do two different things here. So I suppose my argument is that we should start seeing, being selfish is a positive thing, right? Or, if that doesn't work for you, you could take Bernstein's advice and shift your thinking and don't call it selfish. Or if someone does call you selfish, rephrase it to them and be like, what? I'm not being selfish. I'm doing this because of that. Yeah.Tazmin:
I agree with that. Because when I think okay, if I look at my small environment, what does my husband wants from me? What does my daughter want from me? Well, actually, they want the whole house to reveal calm, they want me to feel charged me to feel stable. Because then whatever curveballs they throw at me, my daughter might say, oh, you know, work is terrible. My husband said might say, Oh, this deals not going so well. If I'm doing it be burnt out, flustered, I'm not going to be able to help them. If I am charged, I'm able to help them. I'm able to listen, I'm able to be empathetic, I'm able to give them that space. I can only do that if I'm charged. Or financially, yes. If I'm building a business to make that successful, I have to do certain things. There's certain tactics that I'm going to have to whether it's posting on social media, whether it's writing, whether it's giving, you know, having one to ones. Now, if I spend time building the business, and the business grows, and the business is more successful, that hopefully will have financial rewards. So if I am being selfish by saying it's Saturday morning, I'm not going to have breakfast with you guys. I'm going to go and record a podcast that in the end is helping them so I don't see it as selfish. Well, I don't see yourself as something bad. I see it as I'm investing in myself. So I can tell you can all have a return on that investment.Sarah:
Yes, yes. 100% agree. And I think we've got time, and I think we've starting to run out of time. But I think I can squeeze one more. And the last one of being more selfish is turn inward. So again, this is Dr. Bernstein. If you find yourself increasingly tired, frustration, frustrated or without patience, it may be time to turn inward and focus on yourself. So we need to give give ourselves some nurturing some TLC, get more sleep, take a walk or even leave work early if you can. And I love this statement by Bernstein and I think it feeds into what you're saying and the whole episode and a nice way to round up is it's not selfish to want to feel betterTazmin:
A wonderful statement. Wonderful quote.Sarah:
Yeah. Right. Wow, that was a bit of a heavy episode Tazmin, this is going to be a hard question, cuz you're gonna have to narrow this down. What is the key thing that you've taken away from today?Tazmin:
The key thing that I've taken away is, in order to be your best, you have to give yourself the best.Sarah:
So if I am going to give myself proper nutrition, proper rest, proper self care, proper sleep, proper investment in the areas of my life that are worthy, like career relationships, so on and so forth. To put those in, to be able to then give them out. And that is what I am doing. It's not it's not because I don't care about people. It's not because I am. My world is just about me. My world encompasses many people. But in order to be my best for them, I have to treat myself the best.Sarah:
Love it. You have a wonderful way with words. And the most important question Tazmin. Is it okay to be selfish?Tazmin:
Yes. Yeah. Selfishness. reframe what selfish is and. And remove the negative, as you said, almost at the beginning, remove that negative connotation. Yeah.Sarah:
Yeah. Either take out your vocabulary. Or think about it differently. Yeah, there's two ways that you can do this, I suppose. Right. Which, sad, like, because I feel I feel like we covered a lot. But yeah, we could do I feel like there was times where I could have gone into more detail. ButTazmin:
it was. Yeah, it would be lovely to get listeners feedback on this. Yeah. So yeah, twice a week and give us off, you know, find us. Send us some direct messages or post wherever. But yeah, it would be great to get their feedback on this.Sarah:
Right. So we need to end with our pledge. Tasmin? Yes. Okay. Do you want to do it or should I do it?Tazmin:
No, you do it. Okay.Sarah:
Everyone, it is pledged time. I am an SEO professional who prioritises my own mindset and personal growth, and not just rankings improve and visibility and algorithms. Right, shall we say goodbye.Tazmin:
Thank you very much for everyone who is listening. And thank you Sarah for putting together a wonderful episode.Sarah:
And thank you for I feel like you always add in such nuggets of wisdom as well. So thank you.Tazmin:
When you get to this age, you've got something.Sarah:
And that age is 25, everyone.Tazmin:
Take care, sir, thank you so much.Sarah:
Until next time, everyone.