Many people write about their successes, I’m going to flip
that. Everyone fails at something, we should share these stories more. I
challenge you to do the same.
I used to work in a high pressure, high expectation, and demanding professional
environment. I soon became accustomed to the pace, the expected work product and
got a rush from the stress and impending deadlines. I drank the cool-aid. I
worked almost 24/7. I always had my computer, phone or Ipad with me. I rarely
stopped for a lunch break. I would take vacation days and would sit at home and
work instead of taking time for myself. I was a total work-alcoholic on my way
I put work ahead of my marriage, my family, my friends and my health. I
convinced myself that working hard would lead to success and a better life for
myself and my family. Guess what, it didn’t. As I moved up and took on more
responsibility at work everything else got worse. I was a horrible wife, an
absentee mom and a terrible friend. No one liked being around me. I told myself
that I was happy, but in hindsight I wasn’t, far from it in fact.
I had failed. Not professionally, but personally.
I love my career, I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than what I do every
day, but there is more to life than working. So, instead of re-prioritizing my
to-do list (which I would do weekly), I re-prioritized my life. Work got knocked
down a few pegs. I won’t say the change was easy, because it wasn’t, but it was
worth it. I took a different position with a new company. I spend more time with
my family and make a point to focus on my marriage. I take a lunch every day, I
both arrive and leave work on-time and rarely take work home anymore. I make
time to exercise and get enough sleep. These may not seem like big or difficult
changes, but for me they were.
Surprise, my work still gets done, and it gets done better! I am able to be more
productive because my life is better balanced. My thinking is clearer and my
creativity improved. I feel better. People who see me now comment that I look
happier, which means that I must have been really miserable and blind to it. My
personal relationships all have improved and my mental and physical health are
Sometimes it’s hard to realize when you have failed or when a change is needed.
Life has a way of pointing these things out when we least expect it to occur.
When this happens it’s unnerving, painful and scary. I had an amazing
opportunity to hit the reset button and I am grateful for that.
Sometimes you need to take a step back to take a better step forward.