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Workaholic 200x300 Work Doesnt Pay: Confessions Of A Workaholic

Work Doesn’t Pay: Confessions Of A Workaholic

To a workaholic, work is an addiction. Like most addictions, work can be unhealthy. Work comes before everything and everyone else. Being a workaholic is a slow road to an early grave.

In the days of the pioneers, sons worked alongside their fathers every day. The fathers taught their sons every thing they knew and it was expected that the son would follow in his father’s footsteps. If dad was a farmer, the son became a farmer. A trapper begot a trapper, a tanner a tanner. No matter the family, all lived and worked alongside each other. Traditional values and work ethic were passed from one generation to another seamlessly. Those days are now endangered, if not extinct.

Today new rules apply. Commercialization and technology have created a new frontier that largely expects us to work and work and work…if we allow it. Our work is how we often compare ourselves with others. Working excessively comes at a cost. Health. Relationships. Performance.

Work came first.

My dad was a workaholic. He was task-focused. He worked long hours and for 20+ years worked 5 days per week away from home. Whilst I know he loved me, my mum and my brother the message was: Work comes first. We didn’t like it, but we accepted it. Along the way Dad developed work-related stress disorders and had a strained relationship at times with Mum. The construction industry in which Dad worked demanded a lot from him. I think he worked as hard as he did due to his high standards, his integrity and the ongoing pressures to get things done on time and on budget.

Dad was driven by work. He would often tell me I had to work hard if I wanted to achieve anything. No surprise I picked up his ethic. Kids do what kids see.  I followed his example. It was not conscious but it was a natural outcome. For years, I worked hard – most weeks 65-80 hours. For one year I managed to sustain 100+.

Then I woke up one day.  I was filling in as a veterinarian for 6 weeks away from home, away from my wife, Nancy. I was not happy. I realized I was just like my dad. I was a workaholic. Work came first. My family was a distant second. I realized I was married more to my work than I was to Nancy. Then and there I vowed that family would always be first well before work. That decision, over the years, has cost me money and career opportunities. But it was the right decision. My wife, marriage and family mean far more to me.

For you, does work come before everything and everyone else?

Just because I made the decision to stop being a workaholic doesn’t mean that it has been easy. Even now, years later, I still wrestle with the ogre of working for the sake of working. Once a workaholic you are always one task away from a dangerous slide into old and, potentially, destructive patterns.

It’s easier to be a workaholic than have a truly balanced life.

Quentin Bryce

The key is to clarify and adhere to your priorities.

Your work is a vital part of your life but it’s only a part. No matter how your career develops someone will one day take your place. However, nobody can take your place as a husband and a father. My dad worked hard because he wanted to give our family what he did not have. I almost fell into that same trap. Working hard to give your family what you didn’t have can cause you to miss the opportunity to give them what you did.

Work matters but it doesn’t matter most. It’s who matters most. Relationships – family – come first. Your family will know this by the choices you make. The main thing is never a thing. Sure you have to do your job and do it well, but, as I’ve learned, you have to work on your relationships more. Great relationships bring greater joy and fulfillment.

It takes time.

Unless you are on the list of the top 100 most influential people in the world (or your industry) the likelihood is that you will be forgotten. Unless you are Steve Jobs, or Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, your work is not your legacy. Your true legacy is in your relationships. That’s where your wealth is. That’s where you live on…Or where you are meant to if you’re not a workaholic.

Where you invest your time reveals your priorities. You are either selfish or selfless. To grow and strengthen relationships takes time. It takes sacrifice on your part. Work can wait. Your son is holding two gloves and a ball. He asks to play catch. Do it. Your daughter is struggling with her self-image. Be there to affirm her. Your wife is juggling her career and getting the errands done. Step in and take your share of the load. Do these things and you are sending a clear message to them that they matter. Do them and you create memories, moments and momentum in your life and that of your family. That’s true success. That’s true wealth.

To build a better marriage and a better family, it will take time. There is no substitute. Don’t buy into the lie – quality time versus quantity. You have to put in a lot of time so that a quality relationship can happen.

As I’ve learned, you are to work harder on your relationships than your work. Your family need you to help them grow and develop into their best selves. Would you rather someone else or something else influence their future? Like TV, internet, drugs, the wrong crowd etc? I don’t and I bet you don’t either.

Success is best experienced in the company of those who matter most. Success doesn’t mean squat unless your family is with you every step of the way (the same applies for their success). Don’t leave them behind. Your success at home requires your presence. Learn to say no more at work and yes at home. Work can wait. Your family will only wait for so long.

Perhaps you only now realize the price you have paid at work and what it has cost you at home. You may even think it’s too late. But how will you know if you don’t try? You can change. There is no time like the present to give your family what they need more of. You!

Your Powerplay

Be a pioneer today. Quit the grind. Work less. Live more.


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Reading Minds 300x199 Communication Starts With Listening Not Talking

Communication Starts With Listening Not Talking

Communication is more art than science. People do not always behave logically. When it comes to communication we must always be understanding and at times creative and sensitive. Where people are concerned we must talk less and communicate more.

All life communicates in one way or another. From amoeba to man, the more highly developed the organism, the more complex the communication. The more complex it is, the greater the room for error. To minimize errors and maximize results, the key is to keep communication as simple as possible.

Know the basics.

I learned a lot about communicating from two of my dogs – Biscuit and Zulu. Though they have long since passed away the lessons they taught me still are with me. Communication is less about the words we use, but about how we use them and how we deliver them. Neither Biscuit or Zulu could speak English but they could speak volumes. Those deep brown eyes, those lolling tongues, those expressive ears and those waving tails could say so much. But where they really drove home the lesson was their ability to listen. They could sense my moods. They knew when to just be still, put their head in my lap and be comforting presence. They also knew when to be excited and encourage me to play. I can distill all they taught me about effective communication down to 3 basic tenets:

1.Talk less.

2. Listen more.

3. Seek understanding.

I took those lessons and have applied them as a husband, father, team captain, army officer, veterinarian and coach. I don’t always get the results I desire, but I hit the target more often than not.

Communication is critical to any relationship.

The cornerstone of any relationship – be that at work, rest or play – is communication. Whether you are in a meeting, a workshop, a marriage or on a sales call, you need to communicate. The more you think about how and what you are trying to communicate and who with, the better you will get. The better you communicate, the greater your influence. The greater your influence, the better the results you experience.

Ever been frustrated in a discussion because the other person was not listening?

We find this with our two kids. They often fight for air space to get their point across or their message heard. Both get frustrated with each other (and with us). The volume goes up and the behavior gets worse. Enter the teaching moment. We ask them to just stop. We then ask if they like being talked over. They say no. We ask them how they would like to be treated. They say they want to be able to say what they want to say. We then remind them that we are to respect others. We can do this by listening first. The Golden Rule applies – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

We have to lead by example. As with our kids, this scenario happens in homes and workplaces around the globe. Sadly, none of us are angels. We don’t listen. We damage relationships. We talk over others. We talk at people. We talk to people. But we often don’t talk enough with people. From my own experience as a leader and a follower, the best way to communicate effectively is to come alongside people. The aim is to at least see and hear things from their perspective. We are to seek to understand them first; to put ourselves in their shoes. Hopefully, when we do that, they will do likewise.

Leaders are slow to speak and quick to listen.

Communication is a 2-way street. It’s often less about the words and more about the meaning behind them. But you cannot understand their meaning if you’re just waiting for your turn to talk. One of my favorite times of the day is when Nancy and I get back together and share our day. I could listen to Nancy for hours. The more I listen the more I learn – about her, her challenges, her victories. At times when she is sharing a challenge, I’ve learned that no longer is she asking me for a solution. She just wants to sort through what’s on her heart and mind in a safe environment. In days gone by, I would jump in with my solution – a typical guy response. Right ladies?

We men prefer to solve rather than listen.

We know we aren’t listening when we’re just waiting for an opportunity to get our point/agenda across. Listening is about putting others before ourselves. When we do that, interestingly, it benefits us too. We learn. We understand. We grow. We strengthen our relationships and increase our influence. The more we listen the better we get at hearing and knowing the right answers when we hear them.

Listen to learn.

True communication is the response you get. You will know by their response if your message has been received correctly. That’s why listening is crucial. Listening costs nothing other than your time and your ego. It’s a great investment in your relationships with those people you are leading and to whom you are listening.

We all know how to talk. Many of us could learn to listen more. For us to improve our ability to communicate and influence, we must focus on knowing when to talk and when to listen. Guaranteed, you can never listen enough.

Your Powerplay

In every conversation, remember the basics. Listen more. Speak less. Seek understanding.


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It Takes Time

April 10, 2014

It Takes Time We all have the same amount of time in a day. Some of us use it well. Some of us don’t. It may appear to be a commodity but, in truth, it is an asset. Our success depends on it. We must invest our time wisely to gain the best return. From […]

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