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Hard work is ingrained in my very being. As Will Smith so aptly described, regardless of the circumstances, I approach life (and any job) like I’m on a treadmill – my determination ensures that I step off last. This philosophy has seamlessly woven itself into my professional journey over the years. Those acquainted with my work ethic understand that tackling 16-hour days isn’t something that fazes me. It’s not about working slowly; it’s about harnessing immense productivity and taking immense satisfaction in methodically crossing tasks off my list. Each task completed is not just a step forward; it’s a testament to the grit and dedication that drives me.

Now I don’t want to toot my own horn, and how great I am. The point I want to make is that having a successful career does not mean you need to sign off your soul (e.g.: all those consultants at McKinsey and co). Hard work and long hours do not equate to anything. Your job (putting the joy and passion aside – if you belong in that group for the job you do) should not define you and who you are. Emails at night, or working hours on end, or staring at the computer screen is not what it is about. You job title is just that – a job title. A description of what you do.

Indeed, a prevalent predicament that pervades society is the established notion that achieving success or possessing what is deemed an “enviable career” necessitates a perpetual commitment to extended work hours, an incessant stream of emails, unrelenting participation in numerous endeavors, and an unwavering mastery of every facet. That was my career early on.

This perspective breeds a culture wherein one’s worth is often equated to the visible markers of incessant toil. The prevailing assumption suggests that true accomplishment is manifested through constant busyness and an apparent omnipresence in all facets of professional life. The pressure to excel in every conceivable domain looms heavily, propelling individuals to continuously strive for excellence in multiple realms, and often at the cost of personal well-being.

This mindset inadvertently sidelines the importance of balance, holistic well-roundedness, and the authenticity of one’s journey – put aside all the “employee wellness” corporate crap. The race to be the best at everything can lead to burnout, stress, and a detachment from one’s true passions and inclinations. In the quest to meet these stringent benchmarks of success, individuals might inadvertently sacrifice their physical and mental health, meaningful relationships, and the pursuit of personal passions that breathe vitality into their lives.

It’s crucial to recognize that a fulfilling and successful career does not necessarily hinge on being perpetually plugged in or excelling in every conceivable sphere. True success emerges when an individual finds resonance in their chosen path, maintains a balance that nurtures their well-being, and embraces their unique strengths without succumbing to the unrealistic expectations imposed by society. Valuable insights, innovative contributions, and genuine growth often sprout from a foundation that is built on authenticity, rather than conforming to an external narrative of constant busyness.

What I’m saying is that in the business world we, especially those in leadership roles need to convey and live the message that employees can be committed and still take time off. Managers and leaders can still be good leaders and delegate the right tasks. You, in your job, can be consistent and still have that occasional bad day. You can be a problem solver and still ask for help. You can be flexible and prioritize your family. You can work hard without overworking yourself.

Once society, businesses AND management grasp this – humanity will be that much better. Balance.

Make it happen.