Happy National Workaholics Day!

Happy National Workaholics Day! Yup. It’s a real thing.

It’s supposed to remind us to strike a healthy balance between life and work, but if that was the case, why not call it “National Take a Break Day” or “National Self Care Day”? Imagine if we celebrated National Opioid Addiction Day or National Disordered Eating Day?

The reality is workaholism is a sanctioned addiction. It’s the one that you are deeply encouraged to succumb to. Think back to the times over the course of your career when you were praised for going the extra mile, ‘leaning in’ above and beyond, sacrificing your personal life to meet the demands of the business.

Think about what messages you receive at work both directly and indirectly that encourage 60 hour work weeks, unnecessary connectivity while on vacation, relocation away from family support systems, etc etc.

As leaders, do you proactively praise and reward people for taking their vacation? Do you celebrate those who put boundaries around their personal priorities?

Or do you primarily focus your praise on the business wins?

I spent the first 20 years of my career being a workaholic. My work became my central identity. I burned myself out at least three times; suffered countless health issues; and, missed way too much of my daughters earliest years staring at my BlackBerry.

For leaders who enjoy winning, achieving, going after stretch targets, pushing themselves, being successful… workaholism is so easy to justify. We succumb to the belief that we have no other choice but to grind, grind, grind.

But we do. There are better ways.

For me, better balance has come from deepening my self insight and getting into better alignment with what really matters most to me. It’s been a 25 year journey of redefining success for myself. I’m still working on it but I’ve made progress – good progress.

Work is no longer the centre of my life and I’m happier and healthier for it. And ironically, more successful across all areas of my life.

So for all you workaholics out there, there is hope. You can quell your addiction and find a more balanced life. It simply takes a commitment to want to change.

What will you be doing today to celebrate National Workaholics Day?

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