Is your work ethic sabotaging you?
Today is a little different. I woke up overwhelmed with all the things, like something just isn’t great but I couldn’t really put my finger on it. Just off.
Do you ever wake up feeling restless and edgy?
I woke up feeling like I had this huge uphill battle in front of me and that no matter how much I pushed through, I was going to fall short. It wasn’t going to be fast enough, or good enough, or complete enough.
So I thought “I should make a plan/schedule/priority list.” And now I gave myself a 200 pound pack to carry up that hill. Loading on more expectations and a timeline was counterproductive. Thankfully I have been at this long enough to scratch that first attempt at feeling better. Making the list wasn’t the answer today.
I sat, looking at my list and realized that the problem isn’t that I’m not going to get everything done but that I believe that it has to get done… on a timeline… before I can relax. I wanted to blame my husband for not helping enough but the fact that he does tons made that difficult. I wanted to blame myself for not being motivated enough, but the presence of motivation may be a contributing factor here. I wanted to blame our finances for the lack of a cleaning lady. I wanted to blame societal norms (because that is always a fun go-to) but I couldn’t make that fit either. As fate would have it, tring to find someone to blame, including myself, also did not make me feel better.
So I dug a little deeper. What if there is no one to blame? WHAT?
Let me give you some context. I just worked a crazy busy week at my full-time job while concurrently prepping for a facebook challenge with my coaching business. I am finishing the week by getting ready for a weekend at the beach. Sounds great, right? I should be waking up full of joyful anticipation. If this is the case, then why am I waking up full of dread of my day?
Stay with me here. I hope some of you can relate.
I think my work ethic may be sabotaging me,
and I think it may be a learned behavior.
I have a really good work ethic, one that I am proud of. I feel like this is much in part due to the way I was raised. My parents worked tirelessly and without complaint to provide for all 9 of us kids and there was a solid expectation in the house that we all work together to get stuff done. As I went to college and into my first nursing jobs I never had expectations of special treatment or of handouts. Work hard and provide for yourself and your family. Work hard at home to keep things nice. Doing all of this has overall had a huge impact on my happiness.
While this work ethic has served me well and I am not planning on giving it up, maybe applying it to a Friday morning after a busy week is misplaced. I am a champion worker but as fate would have it, relaxing and having fun kind of stresses me out…like I should probably be doing something productive.
Intellectually I can see the error of this. Without spending some time thinking about it, I am going to continue to feel restless and out of control when it is time to do something other than work and business building and laundry and yard work and house maintenance etc.
It’s easy to jump right to judgement ie: “I SHOULD be able to relax.”
But judgement doesn’t get me anywhere.
It’s like trying to shame a smoker into quitting smoking.
The key to feeling better is understanding. Understanding why I feel this way is the first step to feeling better. Nothing is wrong with how I feel, I feel this way because I am an expert worker but a novice relaxer. I am unpracticed at relaxing first and knowing for sure that I will get the things done that are important to me...even if they don’t get done first. Planning fun before work does not have to be procrastination, it can be taking advantage of the opportunities that life gives to be happy and connected with others. I want to stop procrastinating when it comes to having fun (ok, I may have just blown my own mind with that one).
My intention for today: practice being ok with the idea that I don’t have to be doing something “productive” all the time. If that seems like too much of a stretch, I will practice thinking that having fun can be productive too since it builds relationships and restores my energy levels (if I am not beating myself up the whole time).
And the truth is, I always get all the things done. After all, I am a champion worker. No panic necessary.
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