Have you ever walked UP a down escalator? It’s difficult, but it’s doable. Once you get momentum, you can easily climb to the top. What happens when you stop climbing to appreciate how high you’ve gotten? You begin sliding backwards. The longer you wait to start climbing again, the harder it is to get back to where you were — costing you time and energy.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially when it comes to the industry I’m in. But, my escalator analogy compares favorably to anyone in the working world. Think about it. It’s hard to get going. You need knowledge. You need relationships. And, you need experience that only comes from time doing the job. It’s hard, but once you start rolling, it becomes easier to maintain your momentum through positive, learned behaviors that become habits.
Unlike the escalator that only has the one dynamic (climb to the top or slide back down to the bottom), our jobs are balanced with our non-work life. It’s a little something called “work-life balance.” That’s a buzz phrase we hear about it, read about, and think about more than we care to admit. Responsibilities and desire to spend time with family and friends or working on our own personal health sometimes demands we slow our climb.
People who adapt their speed and continue to be productive as they balance their lives rarely go backwards. In fact, as they adapt, they find comfort in the balance. They can actually get better at both.
People who STOP inevitably struggle to restart the engine. Despite their intent to become 100 percent present in their personal lives, they ultimately realize the energy and passion that’s created by engaging their brain in a worthwhile occupational pursuit is missing. Too many times, I’ve seen people stop because they feel the weight of responsibility in each aspect of their life. And too many times, those people slowly drift away and rarely find the happiness or peace they’re pursuing.
Now, if you’re thinking, “Beau, what in the world are you talking about?”, let me translate that a bit. I’ll correlate this to a successful salesperson who has built an impressive book of business that pays them nicely. Some of you may immediately feel connected to this scenario. At a certain level (and that level is different for each person given their individual environment), everyone tends to reflect and wonder why they’re working as hard as they always have when they can stop selling and live off the revenue their book of business provides. Inevitably, they begin losing customers because they’ve lost their “new business” mindset, which is predicated on learning, on being on top of their game, and being aware of new developments and cutting-edge ways to solve problems. The loss of customers snowballs into additional customers and a loss of income. The loss of income induces stress, anxiety, and pressure.
As the reality of their need to “restart” the engine sinks in, so does the realization that their personal life has adapted to their “inactive” work status, and it becomes very difficult to “rebalance” their time. Unfortunately, few rarely return from this self-imposed career destruction. And the cruel irony is that their personal life somehow falls short of their altruistic desire to be a better spouse, parent, friend, church member, and community member. They end up back at the bottom of the escalator with no clue how they got there, when it’s really quite simple. They stopped. Period.
So, here’s my advice to anyone out there who may be feeling like everything is piling up. Don’t stop. Instead, rebalance. Rebalancing doesn’t come from stopping. It comes from reassessing your time commitments, your priorities, and the things you’re good at and you enjoy. A healthy and engaged brain is a very powerful force. It defends the body against stress, depression, and anxiety. Positive, can-do spirit becomes contagious in their life at work and at home with their spouse, their children, their friends, etc.
So, take a moment to smell the roses. We only go around once. But, I would suggest that one of the roses to smell is the sense of purpose earned from doing great work, collaborating with colleagues, and serving our communities.
Plain and simple —DON’T STOP!
Published on: 02.25.19