Confessions of a Workaholic


“Hi, Nancy!  How are you?  Busy?”

“Actually, just right!”

That’s my response when someone asks me how I am.  If you’ve been following this newsletter for the last year, you know that I set a goal in 2013 to accomplish more by doing less.  I wanted an unhurried pace of living that would enable me to serve clients, spend time with family, and focus on what is most important.  I’m a little surprised and a little in awe that I’ve achieved it.  Now I don’t want to mess it up. I know I could, because I have red shiny ball syndrome.  Each new idea or concept can take me off my plan and path.

I have been a workaholic all my life – working long hours, achieving goals, and taking on new challenges.  But over the last few years, things other than achievement and work began to have more value in my life.  So last January, I made a commitment to back off my pace.  It wasn’t easy or simple.  In fact, I’m confessing my struggles to you.  I hope in doing so, it encourages me to stay the course and gives you the courage to try the same.

1)      A voice in my head still tells me I’m not doing enough.  I’m learning to override that voice.  I have my values posted in a frame on my desk, and my values vision statement in the same frame.  When that nagging voice goes off, I look at those values and remind myself that right now I’m living values intentionally.  It feels good!

2)      As my time started to be less programmed by work, I started to fill that spare time with volunteer opportunities.  About 4 months in, my husband challenged me.  I told someone I’d done well in prioritizing my time.  He said I’d just shifted emphasis.  He was right.  I had to make some tough decisions about what to say no to

3)      I’ve struggled with fear.  “What if” questions pop into my head.  What if my clients interpret my new approach as negative?  What if I’m perceived as lazy?  What if revenue takes a hit?  I’ve had to keep my eyes focused on what was most important and not let fear keep me from trying a new approach.

In my book, The Dichotomy of Power, I wrote “If we face fear, embrace, fear, overcome fear, we can lead with courage.  We can live with integrity.”  2013 was a year of putting my words into actions.  The benefits have far outweighed the costs.  No more chasing red shiny balls.