In the past decade or so self-help books, magazines, psychologists, life coaches and even talks show hosts have all been telling us that we need to ease up on ourselves, take a break and not overdo it. Somewhere along the line, we took that advice and turned it into a convenient excuse not to perform at our highest level. Basically, we took that advice and started slacking off.
Anyone who has a dream of improving his or her career, education or personal life knows all too well the sacrifices, discipline and commitment it takes to make those dreams come to pass. It’s not easy.
Change rarely happens overnight and it’s not pretty or convenient. Success sometimes means working in the wee hours of the night long after you’ve already put in eight hours on a job. Or it could be foregoing a vacation to get client work done. It may even mean working on your birthday or anniversary.
You cannot and should not expect to advance by putting in the bare minimum. Success takes grit.
I’m a workhorse by nature. When I go in, I go in hard. Sometimes my family and friends worry about me and advise me to slow down because I tend to do too much. When opportunities come my way, I jump on them. I hate saying no. My tribe thinks I overdo it. Sometimes, they’re right. Sometimes they aren’t.
I run a PR firm, write weekly and bi-weekly columns, co-host a talk show, freelance for international publications and nurture a growing blog. To some, that seems like a lot. To me, I feel like I could be doing more. A lot more.
Every time I sit down to read a book or watch one of my favourite shows I think I’m wasting time and could be working. I read somewhere that Beyonce has the same 24 hours in a day that everyone does. I took that to heart. That’s the virgo in me.
But, after hearing so many people say I needed balance, I started going out more and spending time with my family. While those things allow me to hit the reset button, I also know that I need to be careful to be lulled into complacency.
There are goals that I have set for myself and no one can help me hit those targets but me. So, I know I cannot rest too much.
I’m certainly not advocating for people to work themselves into the ground. That is not healthy and is actually quite dangerous.
Steve Harvey Took Some Heat, But He Was Right
Comedian and talk show juggernaut, Steve Harvey found himself in hot water earlier this year after he said “rich people don’t sleep eight hours a day.”
Harvey, who hosts Family Feud, was addressing his studio audience at the time.
“That’s a third of your life. It ain’t but 24 hours in a day. You cannot be sleep eight hours a day. You can’t live in LA and wake up at 8 o’clock in the morning. It’s 11 o’clock on the east coast. The stock market [has] been open [for] two hours. They already making decisions about your life and your ass was sleep,” he said.
People were furious. I felt they missed the point. Harvey was not advocating an unhealthy lifestyle. He was saying what I’m saying. That you cannot be productive and successful if you spend a huge chunk of your life slacking off, or as he put it, sleeping.
Are there people who sleep eight hours a day and are incredibly successful and wealthy? Of course. Are there people who sleep four hours a day and are still poor? I’m sure there are. But, those who put the most into their careers and try to take their lives to the next level usually end up making tremendous sacrifices to be successful. And sometimes that involves losing a little sleep.
Everything in life boils down to how badly you want something. I always say if you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to get it. And if you didn’t get it, you must not have wanted it badly enough.
So, get to work and don’t forget to be hard on yourself. It just might change your life.