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You First or Me First? By Graham Harris

When do you put YOU FIRST and when do you put ME FIRST?

Some businesses suggest that they always put YOU, the customer, FIRST but do they? Some parents say they always put their children FIRST, but do they? Some partners always say they put their partner first but is that good for the relationship?

Both YOU FIRST and ME FIRST are essential to the way we run our lives. The problem is that when we get them the wrong way round we suffer, the people around us suffer and we set ourselves up to fail.

In other words if we say to ourselves YOU FIRST when we should really be saying ME FIRST then we have just lost our opportunity. We have just placed ourselves in second place and let the world run over us. We have just started the downward spiral of “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do this”.

If, however, we say to ourselves ME FIRST when we should really have said YOU FIRST then we have allowed our ego to run us. We are now on the slippery slope of ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’, where everything revolves around me. We are, in effect saying, I should be listened to and my opinions and actions are important.

So the question is do you use ME FIRST and YOU FIRST at the right time?

Most of us use ME FIRST when we should be using YOU FIRST and use YOU FIRST when we should be using ME FIRST.

Why most people make these mistakes

Most people use the YOU FIRST and the ME FIRST at the wrong time because:

• they feel they don’t have enough time and they feel they can do the task better and quicker.

• they want to impress others.

• they want to be known and seen.

• they want respect.

• they want to avoid threatening situations.

• if the situation could result in difficulties of any kind they want others to go first.

• they don’t want to show their lack of abilities or knowledge.

• they prefer to put the onus on another person in case the project fails.

• they don’t trust themselves enough.

A Quick rule of thumb to ensure success.

If it is an opportunity for your own self development and the opportunity to lead by example then your attitude should be one of ME FIRST.

ME FIRST is when I can take the initiative. I can use my specialities at this time. I have the skills and can assist others in this situation.

ME FIRST is when there is an opportunity to develop my skills and my life. To stretch myself. To put myself in situations where I can learn and benefit from the experience. In an organisation where change is needed it will be “Let me change first” because if I change then others will follow. I can be the example.

YOU FIRST is when you see an opportunity to help someone else achieve what they want to achieve. Either to help another person grow and gain skills or to enable another person to use their skills and abilities. You put someone else’s interest before yours.

In other words YOU FIRST is when you have the opportunity to be a great coach.


The secret is in your attitude. Your attitude is the seed to your behaviour. What ever your attitude when you are thinking will be the result. So if you feel arrogant or superior or over confident. Or, you feel that you want to hurt someone or get your own back.

You use ME FIRST instead of YOU FIRST.

It’s that simple.

Just for a moment look back over your actions today.

How many times did you think YOU FIRST when it should have been ME FIRST?

How many times did you say ME FIRST when it should have been YOU FIRST?

How many times did you get it right?

Good luck.

Graham and Julie

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