For months now I have been putting in 70+ hour work weeks, bootstrapping most of my money by splitting my room with a friend to cut down on rent, eating the o so glorified entrepreneur diet of chips and diet coke, wondering if the old adage "extra effort is the key to success" held true.... I was completely driven into the routine. Wake up, work one job, get my hour workout in, work a second job during the day, work a third job in the afternoon, study some abstract marketing or management theory to try to get ahead, drive home, study some more, try to prepare for the next day and in the process dose off only to hear my alarm waking me after what had to be only 5 minutes.... Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. For about the past year this was the routine I had. Something had to give.... You do not really notice it until it's in retrospect but I was caught up in what I will term "the rat race". Without the backdrop of University to solidify my identity, to make it seem to the outside World I was a hard worker, I tried hard to validate my status in the working World. The "rat race". The more I worked, the more nice things I would someday be able to afford and the more people would like me! O yes, I would work longer hours than anyone could handle! I would work mornings, days, nights, and weekends! Why? Because I can and no one else is tough enough to do so... How sorely mistaken I was. I had gotten caught up in the World of not so much material, but status.......
Something was off. I now have a little bit more money, but did I really gain anything? Had I lost myself in the process of trying to do too much? Some of my relationships have taken a strain because I was practically a Zombie, unable to effectively think or be empathetic. My body has broken down now twice and I have not been able to run for the past 6 months because of first a tibial stress fracture and then a metatarsal fracture from kicking a rock while diving. I knew I had hit a new low, when my father informed me that my mother had mentioned how she missed our weekly phone calls. This was my epiphany moment. I took an evening to reflect and write down what I was truly trying to accomplish by working constantly. Did I really enjoy what I was doing? Did it align with who I was as a person? Or was I doing all of this just to make my resume pretty. So what if people would look at me and say "o my he does so much! He works so hard!" If I was hurting those who actually like me for being me and gradually the quality of my work was degrading....
This is brought up in Steven Coleys "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" (A great read I recommend for anybody! Especially if you are trying to be a leader or manager, which, we all have the ability to lead and affect people). Working from the inside-out. You must first work on your internal character and be satisfied with who you are as a person before going out to help others. You have to have concrete values which you live by and then use these values as your foundation to accomplish your goals you have in each role of your life. Employee, friend, son, mentor, coach, athlete. You cannot get caught up in what the outside world thinks of you and base your self-worth on what others believe. Your strength MUST COME from within.
Since the epiphany moment I have laid out what is most important to me and began to cut out the extra's I was doing just to impress. Now I am more effective at the things I hold most dearly. I am happier with myself, have more time to continually work on my character, read, volunteer, try out a new hobby, and since I cut down my activities I am making just as much money putting in quality work into a few areas..... It is about balancing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
I am now living the "BlueSky Way".
**Feel free to comment if you have ever been hyper-focused on something only to realize later that you were not happy!**