I follow a blog by a guy called Michael Hyatt who teaches Intentional Leadership. I really love his blog as it is full of down to earth, sound advice. It is essentially written from a man’s point of view (of course) but much of his writing is very insightful and thought provoking, appealing I think, to the female population also.
Michael says he used to work 70 hours plus a week in his job, and was definitely not balancing life very well.
Here are the five assets he says you put at risk when you over work yourself:
1. Your health.
How many people do you know who have died young simply because they refused to take care of themselves? Honestly so many of the problems you and I face in our health are self-imposed. We do it to ourselves because we don’t take care of this instrument God has given us.
2. Your family.
Let me tell you something. You cannot afford a divorce. I can’t either. The cost is incalculable. I watched one of my really good friends go through a divorce last year, and I don’t think to this day he has really any idea the cost, the impact, or the collateral damage that’s been imposed on other people’s lives, not to mention his own life. Just ask people you know who have gone through a divorce. You also can’t afford to ignore your children. If you don’t invest in them now, you’ll be forced to spend time with them later whether it’s in rehab, in juvie, or worse.
3. Your friends.
Sadly, I didn’t really have any close personal friends until about 5 years ago. I hate to admit that. I had colleagues at work. I had acquaintances, people I had a professional relationship with, and I really mistook that for friendship. It’s great as far as it goes, but that’s different than having great friends who really don’t have any other agenda other than to love you and to be in a relationship with you. Thankfully I have those kinds of relationships now, but I didn’t have them at that point. That was an asset I was putting at risk.
4. Your effectiveness.
I was certainly guilty of sometimes thinking I could just muscle through my activities and just by force outperform my peers and ascend the corporate ladder. What I’ve discovered is I’m the most productive when I’m the most relaxed. You’re the most productive when you’re not stressed. So the number of hours you work has almost zero correlation with your effectiveness.
5. Your influence.
The people who report to you, the people you work with unconsciously begin to mimic you. Have you ever noticed this when you go into an organization? They don’t even see it themselves anymore, but they kind of all dress alike. Maybe they use some of the same verbal expressions, maybe some of the same laughs. It’s kind of an unconscious thing of mimicking one another and especially the leader. People can’t help it.
As a leader, you can’t help it either. You’re going to set the pace. If you work 70 hours a week, your people think they have to work 70 hours a week to satisfy you. You set the standard, and they believe unconsciously that’s the standard they must keep.
The problem is most of them are not going to be able to keep up, and you’re going to be responsible for the consequences. If your marriage can handle it, great, but what if theirs can’t? They go through a divorce, one of their kids goes off the rails, or their health is a bust. Are you willing to accept responsibility for that because as a leader you didn’t exert the kind of influence that had a positive impact on people? I’m not, at least not anymore.
Sound advice indeed. More tomorrow!