Thursday, November 21, 2013
I spent last week coaching young leaders on the importance of making choices that will support them in living their best life. Many of these leaders work excessively long hours and in offices where their culture dictates and expects this of them. Although they know choosing to leave work at a decent hour to eat dinner or get more than three hours of sleep is best for their well being, they express concern about how this choice will impact their performance rating or how others perceive them. They wonder, “Will others perceive me as a slacker if I leave work to go get some rest?” There are consequences to many of our choices and perhaps this is a consequence of the choice to leave work during a busy time because you need to get some rest or eat a decent meal; however, there are also consequences to choosing to stay.
In a recent blog post I shared what some of the consequences to not take care of yourself can be. The choice to work 80-100 hours a week or not will both have a consequence. Choosing to leave work to take care of yourself during a busy time when all your co-workers and colleagues are staying until midnight or later may cause others to perceive you as less committed than they are. Choosing to stay and work through the night on no sleep and work through all your meals can also have a consequence. Eventually you will get burned out, or worse, end up in the hospital like the client I wrote about in a previous post. Maybe not this week, or this year, but eventually it will catch up to you.
As with my group of leaders last week, I am not telling you (and did not tell them) which choice to make – that’s personal and a decision that each of us makes in the moment. I’m simply pointing out that each decision comes with a consequence. We often only think about the consequences that the one choice of leaving work will have on our performance rating or our boss’s or co-workers perceptions of us. We tend put our own needs last so don’t think about the consequences that choosing to work 80-100 hours a week will have on our well being until we start to physically, mentally or emotionally feel those consequences. As I mentioned in my previous blog post titled, Running on Empty and I will say again, if we forget to tend to our own needs or ignore them, our performance rating or what our boss thinks eventually won’t matter. You have to be present and able to perform your job so that you can get a performance rating and your boss can have a perception of you. You may still choose to work 80-100 hours a week (or whatever your equivalent of that is) but please remember that in any of your choices, you are the most important part of the equation.