If you've read my story, you'll know early in my career I was a huge fan of hard work. It got me to a lot of places in my career. That said, it wasn't great for my well-being (as a guiding principle it's not good for anyone's well-being). Hard work has an up-side, you get many things done with a "rush" from accomplishment (whether it is clearing off your "to do" list, or completing a project), but interestingly it is not something that proportionately contributes to being successful. What I mean by that is, hard work alone will not get you to all the amazing and fulfilling places you could go in your career and life.
It's not difficult to see how working so hard you cannot enjoy yourself puts you further away from success (however you define it). Yet, it’s easy to get caught-up in the relentless pursuit of “getting things done” (or maintaining the status-quo), without consideration to what are you trading away in life so you can feel “complete” at work. Put a different way, music is enjoyable to hear not just because of the notes, but because of the rests in between. When you cram all your waking hours with work it’s like a toddler incessantly banging piano keys; that is not music. It is an assault on the senses. How badly do you want to make it stop?
Perseverance (AKA hard work) is not the same as resilience. Maya Angelou said “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it”. My wake-up call came when I realized the cost of hard work to my health, well-being, and the many ways un-checked effort reduced me. I wasn’t living, I was working, and truthfully it was easier to bury myself in work then to become accountable for living to my life’s true potential. Success is measured not by hard work, but the impact and outcomes of your efforts. Meaningful contributions. Restorative time for yourself. Connection to family and friends.
What “music” are you making in your life?
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I believe in empowering others in many tangible ways. When I learn new career strategies or see something that might help others, I share it using my blog and website.