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Updated: Apr 16, 2021

I coined the phrase “Strategically Selfish” in response to other’s bad attitudes when I told them “no.” Their requests were not life-sustaining essentials such as food but were their wants. After years of saying "yes", and afraid to say "no", I found myself exhausted in every way imaginable. I felt the need to be everything for everyone. Why? The answer was simple; I was an enabler. I was the person who wanted to fix and support others beyond my ability. The worse part of it all is that I hindered them from growing up, from healing and living their truth. I gave them an out when things did not go their way, and I became their god.

There is a scene in the 1990 film titled “Pretty Woman," starring Julia Roberts. Roberts played a prostitute named Vivian. In this particular scene, her companion Edward Lewis and she had just returned to their Beverly Hills hotel after attending a horse race. Vivian was upset and hurt; Edward's lawyers had propositioned her earlier at the event, leaving Vivian offended, unprepared and caught off guard. Her feelings resulted in an argument. At some point during the dispute, Vivian declares to Edward: “You don’t own me, I decide. I say who, I say when…”

As you can imagine, such a declaration is liberating. I last watched this movie when I was nine or ten years old, and yet this scene is what stood out most, a scene so powerful I can recall it as a 35-year-old woman. As a young girl, I realized I had the power, despite not knowing what that power was, and sadly as I moved through life, I forgot that I indeed had the power to say NO! I want you to know you have this power too! You owe it to your destiny to be strategically and unapologetically selfish!


Strategically Selfish is self-care and requires you to be accountable for upholding boundaries that allow you to protect yourself, your resources, and your heart. Being selfish in this context means:

1. You choose not to allow manipulation to guilt-trip you.

2. You choose to use wisdom when giving yourself to others.

3. You choose to allow prayer and meditation to guide your choices.

4. You choose not to fear the opinions of others, especially at the expense of self.


I have the power to choose.

No longer will I be afraid to say “no.”

I choose not to enable, but to be an example of perseverance.

I will not compromise my purpose, finances, or time.

I love you, and I pray you do not lose hope. Peace is possible, and God’s Grace is for you (2 Corinthians 12:9).


Leslie Ricks, OIG LLC, CEO & Founder

Copyright © 2020 OIG. All Rights Reserved.

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