Society ties a lot of our self-worth as men on how well we do our jobs, and how much money we bring in.
Granted, being good providers should always be a high priority to the family man but without proper balance, we can be left unfulfilled and sometimes resentful. Trying to do everything you can to keep a certain quality of life may very well impair any real enjoyment of that same life.
Even in two income households finding perspective can be difficult, and earnings levels just as crucial. After all the saying goes “the more you make, the more you spend,” so it’s expected with the higher income, we also get more bills. The pressures on us as breadwinners seems to be at an all-time high, our culture demands we spend money. This isn’t an argument for or against that, to each his own, but what we have to find is a balance.
We are in a transitioning phase of what we consider work and careers. Many like myself started careers, worked hard and found some success. Enough success to stay with it for the long term. However in this age, we are in of startups, entrepreneurship, and of people finding new and exciting ways to earn nice incomes we sometimes look at ourselves and ask where we went wrong. Sure the income is there, and sure we have nice things but why do these new thinkers seem so much happier than us?
For many the answer usually doesn’t just lie in what they do or how much they make. It sits right out in the open, in their lives and experiences outside of who they are on the job. I can’t say enough about how important it is to give your all to your profession, but even that has to have a limit. Taking it home every night and neglecting other areas of importance will only cause long term chaos within your work.
Looking at my own life, I have identified areas that depending on how well I nurtured them, greatly impacted my success on the job. Today I know that when I’m not successful in executing any of these things, then all areas of my life including my job suffer.
My relationship with my wife– We all understand that work can be hard when we are fighting. It’s hard to gain focus and complete task with your mind going back to things like “what’s her problem?” Or, “I wish I had said.” What is more important to accept is that even when an actual fight isn’t involved, a strained relationship with your mate can and will impact your job. We cannot achieve happiness and contentment at work if we are unwilling to fight for it at home! The most important dedication we should have is to our spouse not to our bosses! When things have not been the best with my wife at various times in our past, I literally sucked at my job, and it was noticeable. It’s important that you have balance and happiness in your entire home life, but it has to start with your partner.
My mental health– Stress is a fact of life, it’s part of many jobs and in a lot of cases, it’s completely unavoidable. I’ve even heard that a certain amount of stress is good, that it keeps you sharp. My issue was, however, that I allowed any and all stress to stay with me all the time. When I wasn’t at work, I stayed home and rarely ventured out, and there I worried about everything! I withdrew from personal contact and avoided social settings. I was clinically depressed and suffered from high anxiety. All of these things added up to me being less productive and motivated at work. Until I was willing to seek help for the depression and anxiety, I couldn’t fully execute my duties, and certainly couldn’t be consistently successful.
My physical health– Stress also impacted my physical life, I ate too much, I didn’t exercise, and I never saw my doctor. I gained a lot of weight, and I had absolutely no physical endurance. Even when I wasn’t stressed out, I was lazy and unmotivated I didn’t take care of myself or even my possessions. Grass grew too high, the car was dirty, and my office was a cluttered mess. I was fat lazy and killing myself. At the times where this was going on, I still did my job and did it pretty well, I just didn’t excel I didn’t go above and beyond, and I didn’t enjoy it. I showed up late and left early, I watched the clock and enjoyed lunch hour the most. Until I finally got myself back into a regular workout routine and curtailed some of my eating habits, I was just going through the motions. Now I come to work before daybreak and hammer through a large portion of my day before anyone else arrives. My productivity has greatly improved, and I enjoy what I do again.
Belief in myself– Above all for me to be successful in anything, I have to believe in my ability to do it, we as men sometimes easily find ways to down our accomplishments and abilities. If I allow myself to fall into the trap that I can’t, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have enough experience, or I don’t deserve success then I would have never achieved anything professionally or otherwise. Keeping that in the forefront of my thoughts help me not only envision my future success but also take the steps necessary to get there. It’s important to remember past wins, but your future cannot rely on that, your future depends heavily on your vision and the belief in yourself that all that you dream of can be achieved.
If you’re in a rut or finding yourself failing more than winning, on the job perhaps, it’s time to take a look at some of these things. Even if you are as successful as you think is possible take a look anyway, you may surprise yourself at what you can achieve.
Photo: Flickr/ mouton.rebelle