How often do we read that when we look back on our lives, we will never wish that our tombstones read: “I wish that I’d worked more”?
Yet I’ve grown quite comfortable and certain in saying that there are some who not only want that, but need that—to work more.
We try to help them because we believe in taking control of our lives—personally and professionally—thus we expel experiences, stories, and accounts of how they, too, can do this.
We offer up our wisdom and skills on how to manage time, energy, and resources—yet the person never seems to make that work. They consistently find a reason or share a story—which is really an excuse—of why they are underwater and overwhelmed.
We presume that they have no clue how to prioritize what’s important in life and we are so eager to help because that’s what we need to believe, when the reality is—they have no desire to.
The stress and chaos that seem to constantly surround them are a need—not a circumstantial incident—and they wouldn’t know how to let go of that because they perpetuate, feed into, and encourage them.
“I am the center of this universe—so vital, so important, so needed. Chaos makes me feel alive. Drama engages me. Being miserable is who I am.”
Maybe it does make them feel alive, capable, and in control. Maybe they need that drama to rely on, hide behind, and evoke a sense of importance. The world cannot go on without them.
All the while, they are pushing away those who truly want and need them. They are putting the brakes on relationships—familial, romantic, and social—that could feed their needs if they only shifted their perspective.
These people would rather tend to the wants, needs, and demands of virtual strangers than be there for those who have made it explicitly clear that they are needed and wanted more close to home.
We can judge and make educated guesses. We can plaster our minds with whatever flowery imagery we choose to select. We can make excuses, rationalize, and debate within ourselves.
Yet the reality is, the person who consistently pushes you aside for work or his/her personal needs, cares about him/herself—not you.
You do not want to hear that, admit, or acknowledge that—but give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Give yourself what you’re always giving them.
They may toss you a crumb, invest just enough to keep you around, but—it’s all about them.
It’s not up to us to understand the why—but it is up to us to acknowledge it and decide where we want to go from there. Do these people actually add to, or take away from, our lives?
I’m forced to recall the many years that work took center stage in my own life. It was built upon insecurity, instability, and fear.
The passion and desire was limitless, but the insatiable desire to succeed was relentless. Not to prove anything to others—only to myself.
I missed family milestones, weddings, funerals, and other occasions because I was fearful that I would lose my job. I was new to corporate and because of my personal history and professional conscientiousness, I felt that I had to be there and available 24/7.
I subconsciously felt that nothing could go on without me. Ha! Trust me, we are not as vital as we think we are. Only to those who love and support us, those closest to us who we may be pushing away.
Awards and accolades—I have collected a few, but I have missed out on more.
Yet at the end of the day, I have learned to measure what is most important—because I choose to make it important.
“Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.”
This is the best advice I have ever received, and I apply it to every aspect of my life. The friend who spoke these words will be recognized, and if you’re reading, you know who you are.
There are those who use work as an excuse—and those who never reveal how hard they work off hours, behind the scenes, and tirelessly to make loved ones feel special. Those loved ones never see the blood, sweat, and tears that get poured into making it seem effortless.
I get my work done so that I can enjoy my family and friends, without distraction and pressure. I work late into the night and before dawn because I never want them to feel slighted. I prioritize what takes precedence in my life—and it is family and friends as well as work. With discipline, time management, and focus, you can have it all.
People who love you deserve more—they deserve you, your presence, and your time. If you’re not willing to invest in them, only showing up on occasion or making commitments and promises that you never keep, then work more and let your family and friends go.
Excuses are lame. Excuses are actually a coy way of doing what you want because you want to do it.
We make choices in life. Choose wisely.