For a long time I was very much a go big or go home type of person. I felt like I had to give 110% of myself to any one thing that I was working on in order to do it well. The problem with that was that I’m human – first of all. Second, I only have 100% of myself available, I can’t give more than that to any one thing at any time.
I’m not saying that being a work-a-holic is a bad thing. But I am saying that any one thing can be harmful if you have too much of it. Small doses, right?
Let me backup and paint a picture for you. My oldest daughter was 3 months old when I started working full time, I was 18. I also went to college during this time, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree at 26. So for about 8 years I worked all day, went to school all night and then raised my daughter in between. Then, after graduation I took on more responsibility with my job (filling in for those nights, of course) and ventured off in to several different personal endeavors in the hopes of establishing a business of my own.
I missed a lot of moments. I couldn’t always be present when I wanted to be. I had goals that I needed to accomplish and felt obligated to just, keep going. In hindsight, my intentions were good. As a single mother I wanted to provide and I was willing to do whatever it took to find success in my life. I needed to prove that I could do it. Even if that meant I was exhausted, worn out and at times, literally dragging myself to show up and do the next designated thing. It. was. hard.
Well, fast forward to present. Now I’m 30 years old, still working, added another daughter in to the mix and and am running my reselling business on the side. And you know what, I’m happy! Sure it can be stressful at times but my life has balance. What’s the difference? Isn’t that the point of this whole article? The difference is that I have learned to invest as much time growing the relationships around me that I spend growing my professional life.
I don’t mean investing your time in toxic relationships. I’m not saying that for every late night you spend working you should spend a late night out partying (even though that can be SO tempting at times!) I’m saying that what made a difference for me was recognizing the people around me that were supporting me, that cared, that hoped, that believed in me and spent time working on those relationships.
I feel like a lot of the hype in our world today is all about doing it solo. Dismissing the people around us and just doing you. I can’t really get with that idea. As humans, we are designed to connect with other people. When we abandon those connections and focus solely on ourselves, we miss out.
Over the past year I’ve been having a girl’s night with my daughter – one night out of the week, every week. We just hang out. We talk, we laugh, we connect. This has done some amazing things for our relationship. It gives us an opportunity to spend quality time together away from the chaos of the week. I’ve invested in the relationship with my, now fiance. We went back to church – together! I didn’t always have time for that before. Let me rephrase that, I didn’t always MAKE time for that.
But again, what I didn’t realize is that I was missing out. I kept feeling like the harder I worked, the more hours I put in, the more intense the grind was, the more success I would find and that the end would justify the means. It never did. That ah-ha moment never happened for me. That grind or die lifestyle was my killer. My killer of joy, my killer of happiness – of fulfillment.
Why do we do what we do? For me, every answer to that question would always go back to the same purpose – for people. For the people in my corner. To provide for my kids. To travel and make memories with the people I love. To pay off debt – so I’m not stressed – so I can be a better girlfriend, mom, daughter, whatever! It always went back to people.
The true ah-ha moment for me was when I realized that what I was doing was counterproductive. It’s when I began to understand that in order to really find success, that the real sacrifice that I needed to make was allowing myself more time to work on the things that really mattered to me.
So if you are anything like me and you are trying to succeed and thrive in this “grind til you die” era that we are in, I challenge you to pause. Pause for a moment to really evaluate the things that are important to you. We all want to make it, we all want to succeed. But you can’t pour from an empty cup. We have to embrace and make time for the relationships that fill us. That’s what gives us the fuel we need to keep going and will keep us inspired. I realigned my time and the sources where I put my energy. My life isn’t perfect, it’s far from that – but it has balance, and balance is really all I need.
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