“For workaholics, all the eggs of self-esteem are in the basket of work.”
Judith M. Bardwick
(I love this quote because it was totally me a few years ago. Now the eggs are more spread out!)
I’ve been thinking a lot in the past few weeks about the cost of success. I always thought I was a person who was meant for great things. Oddly I don’t remember being specific on what those great things might be but greatness was expected. However, recently I’ve had a chance to observe successful people and I wonder if the cost is worth it? In saying this I am particularly focusing on career success.
A friend of mine is a leader in a company and he works all the time- sometimes 14 hour a days with work on weekends. I can see dedicating such time to something I am truly obsessed with but for just a job it makes me wonder. Especially with a family it begs the question- how much ambition is too much?
Part of the reason I have been pondering the topic is lately work has taken a back-seat in my life. Don’t get me wrong. I still work hard at both of my jobs but they don’t overtake my thoughts or time as much as in previous years. I have too much going on with my health to be stressing out constantly about work. I do what I need to do and then move on to other things. For this moment in my life work is not #1 on my priority list. My spiritual and physical health are first and then work is a distant third. The lifestyle changes I am making are saving me from diabetes, various cancers and early heart disease- what can be more important than that?
Such a change in my attitude towards work is a bit surprising and sometimes a little upsetting. Its hard to have something that so identified me for years become a non-sequitur. A part of me feels guilty for not putting in the 12 hour days and as many weekends? Its like I’m not living up to my potential. I’ve always had this desire to be a pulled together ‘classy’ career woman but it has never happened. There is a part of me which feels sad at the loss (at least the current loss) of this vision.
The truth is I don’t know if I ever had what it takes to be a top-tier success. Work has practically led me to ulcers and the stress has led to panic attacks on several occasions. Working long hours also enabled many bad habits including eating fast food, rarely cooking, never taking a break, and not having time to exercise. I can’t do that anymore. I can’t live that life anymore. It makes me crazy!
As I said, I still work hard but I am starting to let go of the ‘workaholic Rachel’ and become someone else. I am not sure who, but I know it will be healthier and happier! Isn’t that worth any sacrifice?
(I do want to add how grateful I am for my job and the flexibility it provides. I don’t know how I could have made it through the last few months doing anything else. It is such a tremendous blessing.)