It’s been two years since we’ve seen each other, so there was lots to catch up on. How’s the love life? Did you finish grad school? Where was your last international vacation? How’s the job?
The responses and stories to all of the above were positive. I was following along without pause, until I became absolutely stunned and somewhat awe-struck by what she said about work. She talked about how things had changed in the two years she’d been there, how she had worked very hard, and how she had gotten a promotion. And at the end of all that, she just blurted it out casually in a matter of fact kind of way, “I’m a B- at work and I’m okay with that.”
My head immediately popped up from the delicious fajita enchiladas that I had gotten lost in for a few seconds. (Yes, I love Mexican food!) What? Did I just hear her correctly? But, when I lifted my head to meet her eyes, the expression I saw both did and did not match the last statement I’d heard, but yet said it all.
My friend was happy, glowing even. She looked back at me and burst into an even bigger smile when she said, “What?”
She then went on to explain that she enjoyed working in the nonprofit sector and was committed to making a difference in the world. But, what she decided she wasn’t committed to was the countless days of long hours, the even longer to do list and the sacrificing of her health and happiness to do it all.
Stephanie is a save the world type, who is passionate, enjoys travel, food, fitness and has a new love for yoga. She had just come off of a big project at work which had caused her to miss working out for an extended period. She was tired and mentally exhausted and thought jumping back into her workout routine would boost her spirits and get her back on track.
It got her back on track alright. It gave her a new perspective and made her look at things differently when she found out from her trainer that in the short time she had been away working long hours and sitting at her desk that she had lost muscle mass. Muscle mass that she had worked long and hard to gain. All that work gone poof in the night when she wasn’t looking, like many other interests and things that were important in her life. She needed that muscle mass for all the heavy lifting she did on a daily basis.
That’s when she opted to be a “B-” at work to be an “A+” in her own life. Genius!
I wish more of us would bravely chose to be an “A” in our own lives. Choose to put ourselves first, so that we can not only excel at work, but in life by living and enjoying the life we were meant to live.
Becoming a B- doesn’t mean Stephanie decided to slack off at work, it just means she decided to love herself too by leaving at a normal respectable time each day. Doing so gives her a couple of hours daily to do other things that are also meaningful in her life. And contrary to what you might think, it hasn’t made her less productive at work, it has actually made her more focused and better equipped to deal with her daily tasks and the crises that pop up.
How? Because she is happy! She has found her balance in life for this moment.
Remember, everyone’s is different. There is no one size fits all formula, but consider these three things when looking at your life.
- Be intentional about how you spend your time. You’ve heard the saying, “life is not a dress rehearsal,” you really do only get this one shot at it. Many of those hours are spent working, that is a simple reality, but they don’t have to all be spent there. There is nothing that says that you can’t carve out some time to do other things – things that are important to you. Even when the work that you do is your passion, you can still choose to sprinkle a little love in other areas of your life. Be intentional about how and what you spend your time on so that you don’t come to the end of your life and realize you spent the entirety of it punching a clock. Don’t let the dash on your tombstone read “you worked” when you were created to be so much more.
- Maximize your time by being in the moment. You would be amazed by how productive you could be at work, life and more importantly in relationships just by staying focused on what’s in front of you. Many of us (me included) waste time like we waste running water. We view it as an endless commodity rather than the precious resource that it is. Being present and focused all the time is hard work, but it pays off in dividends. It is the key to a richer life.
- Be your own A! Create and live the life you were meant to live. Give yourself permission to walk away from the desk and chair that you have been shackled to. Trust me, it will be there when you come back. And if it’s not, move on to something greater. For some that may mean keeping artist hours. This is where you work hard and then you play hard, but you fit it all in to become the masterpiece you were meant to be.
Now that you know that a “B-” is acceptable, what will you do differently to create your “A?”
Leave us a note below.
Wishing you happiness!