What do you consider to be someone who’s “made it”? Does that phrase bring up images of young fit people in business suits smiling as they rush to the next meeting holding their cell phone to their ear and a Starbucks treat in the other hand?
While this is often a popular stereotype seen on TV and the media, for those of us that actually make it there it can come with a lot of sacrifices that we might not even be sure (or even aware) that we’re willing to make.
So ask yourself this: Why does being successful have to stem from only your job? Aren’t there other ways or other things you can participate in that would be just as rewarding or fulfilling? You may not realize it, but developing a healthy separation between work and home so that you can focus on your own personal goals and activities could be your ticket to even bigger greatness.
To Lean In or Lean Out?
I recently had the pleasure of coming across a great story in Money Magazine. It started out talking about the book “Lean In” by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. Her book was about how women could be more successful by advancing their leadership positions and presence at work.
For anyone who puts their career as number one, that is certainly true. Work can be a very competitive place, and being a force for accomplishment is the best way to establish yourself as a figure of success.
Then the Money magazine article took a different turn about for some people it may be better to actually “lean out” – meaning disconnect from work.
I was in love…. Not because of what this article suggested, but rather because it was confirming something I had been doing more and more for years.
When Doing More Actually Accomplishes Less:
It’s not that I don’t love my job. It’s not that I don’t want to be any less of a productive employee. In fact I DO want to be a productive employment and I do want to be a valuable resource to my employer. Not only do I find it to be very self-fulfilling, but it also makes great practice for being successful in all niches of your life.
But consider this:
- What happens when you work 1 or 2 extra hours when needed? Everyone would probably praise you for your extra effort and hustle. It might get reflected in your next raise or promotional review.
- What happens when you work 1 or 2 extra hours every night? Again you’ll make life easier for some of the senior management and you may again get some reward. But now ask yourself what you’re giving up to get there. Is that raise going to be worth it? Will the new promotion mean doing this all the time? And how long do you have to keep this up these new hours anyways?
- Now add on working every Saturday for 4 or 8 hours? Now you’re probably completing the work or 2 or 3 employees in one week. Is that promotion, raise, or any other financial appreciation going to match all those hours you’re investing and be worth it in the end?
- What if you worked all 168 hours every week? Theoretically that’s not possible since you have to sleep. But I’m making an example here. Now you have NO TIME for anything. Ask yourself: Even if they made you the owner of the whole company, would it be worth it?
In all of these examples, I think we can all agree: At some point the amount of extra work we put into our job does not match the benefit we receive. It may not match it emotionally, financially, or any other sense of the exchange. But clearly there is some kind of very personal line in the sand where a person has to say “no more”.
Being Successful In Our Own Way:
A lot of people associate being successful with only their jobs:
- Making a lot of money
- Having a lot of power
- Traveling often or networking with the right people
All of these are great accomplishments. But you can also be a success in your own way.
For example: What if you went back to the example above of our misguided employee, took those one or two hours of extra work you were doing for your own job, and investing them back into yourself? What would the reward be then?
Speaking from personal experience, that’s exactly how this blog got started. Rather than pour more hours than I needed into my job, I decided to start investing my time back into myself by looking for things I could do outside of work that would be both fun and financially fulfilling. That led me on a path to discovering lots of different passive income ideas and trying my hand at them. Those were things like:
- Creating a blog and making money from the advertising
- Experimenting with niche websites
- Dividend stock investing
- Maximizing my credit card rewards
- Selling stock music
- And investigating lots of other ones …
There hasn’t been any overnight successes. It’s been work. But my ultimate goal is to eventually get each one of these activities working automatically. The ultimate goal is that one day these activities will either earn or raise enough cash to completely replace our current income. How would that be for success?
Again: I’m not implying that you slack off at work or do the bare minimum or be any less productive than you’re potentially capable of. No matter what you’re good at you should do it well. Whatever you do, don’t check out mentally and get yourself fired. That’s not going to help anything and will only frustrate you even further.
Instead, I am asking this: Whenever anyone invests their money, the first thing they want to know is what they will make in return?
Why shouldn’t your time, effort, and passion be any different? Take a step back and consider if certain areas of your life are producing the kind of return you’d like to be seeing. If it isn’t, then maybe you’ll have to rethink your approach to being successful and try something different. Every person deserves the opportunity to make things better for themselves. The only question that remains is what you will do with it when you have the chance. What will you do?
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