One of my biggest regrets over the past decade is how much of myself I left unattended. I recall spending time in the office, looking for the next deal and putting in exceptionally long hours to justify what I call my passion – work.
Work is great. I love and will keep loving the idea of making meaningful change through a unified purpose of the corporate being. But that is not all to life. There are other bonds outside the corporate walls that need attention. Family, friends, and many pockets of relationships and aspirations that can change our view of the world, and change the lives of others.
This shortcoming did not dawn on me until I left my last job. I realized how empty I was. An emptiness I had filled with the daily 7am to 3am grind. I realized how much time I had not spent with family. I realized how little time I had spent on things I’d promised myself I would do.
Before then, I had believed the workplace was my family. I would think my friends were the ones that shared blood and sweat with me in the grind for excellence. I was wrong. They were merely fellow survivors like me. We wake up, grind, sleep, repeat!
You should not live life like this. Balance is important. Give time to yourself, work, family, everything. Do not let the fear of what may happen if you look away from work trap you in a loop of emptiness. Work matters. You matter. And when you must give yourself to any of them, give your best. I always say that the ones who will be the most fulfilled of us all are those who have mastered the art of giving the best of themselves to what matters at any point.
Since I found this out, I had made it a point to do two things irrespective of how busy I get:
1. Make deliberate attempts to spend time with loved ones. This doesn’t need to be a date or a fancy dinner but the joy of just watching the smile on my daughter’s face could never be replaced by thousands of codes or spreadsheet commands.
2. Be deliberate about personal goals. If you planned to go to the gym five times a week, make out time for it. However small your personal goals are, they will bring you more fulfillment than closing the biggest deals in this world.
I am a believer in working long hours and I have grinded, and will continue to grind for years. But I am also a believer in balance. Find balance and stay in harmony.
Tell me, what is the biggest personal or career lesson you’ve learnt recently?