Why are you working so hard?


Wallace’s Weekly Wrap

Happy Friday you wonderful humans.

I’ve always considered myself a hard worker. I’m sure all of you would put yourselves in the same category. Teachers, students, coaches, tradies, emergency services, stay at home parents, business owners, managers, employees, it doesn’t matter. Some of us work outdoors, some at a desk, others at the wheel of the car. Some spend their days moving whilst others sit. Some use their hands whilst others use their minds.

Each day we get up, go to work, contribute to our environment and the people in it, we do our best to make a difference, to show up and to get the work done. Outside of work we train, we clean, we cook. We manage friendships and relationships. Some of you raise children. Others contribute to a team or a club. We all do different things.

What we all have in common though, is that we are all working hard. There is no shortage of work to be done and once it’s done, there will undoubtedly always be more to do.

When we realise this, certainly when I realised this, it dawned on me that hard workers are not rare. It does not make us special. What is rare, is the ability to contribute without the need to get something back in return. What is rare is the ability to have a clear understanding of who you are, and why you are working so hard in the first place.

When I was younger, around the first year or so of Virtus, I walked around feeling that the world owed me something because I worked so hard to get into the position I was. I thought I was special because I would regularly decide to forego sleep and rest for work. Long hours, early mornings, late nights, missed meals and very little sleep. Sure I was working hard, but why was I working hard? What was it for?

Was it a means to an end or a means within itself?

That sense of entitlement didn’t get me very far, and I’m grateful that mindset shifted pretty quickly. I’m very fortunate that I had some hard times that showed me how the universe really works. Times that are horrible to go through at the time but when you look back at them you realise that they were just what you needed and the best thing that could have happened.

These were times when I had to follow rule #5 and put my ego on the hook. To ask for help and to lean on those around me. We all have tough times. When we are faced with hard times we are presented with an opportunity to look at our life, how it is designed, and ask ourself if this is what we really want? Are we working hard for the sake of it, or are we moving somewhere.

What are you actually working for? It’s a tough question to ask. One that has taken a long time for me to be able to answer honestly, and fully.

Is it to accumulate wealth?
Is it to contribute to a cause?
Is it to increase your social standing, to be noticed?
Is it to change the world, or change the world of those around you?
Is it to support your family?
Is it because it is expected of us?
Or do you want to create something that you can be proud of?
Is it another reason that I didn’t think of whilst brainstorming over my morning coffee?

Whatever it is, the truth remains. We all work hard. We all suffer and it helps to know this.
Cultivating awareness about why you show up to work every day is important. It gives us context. Is the juice really worth the squeeze? If it is, great, carry on. If not, maybe it is time to change course.

If we intimately understand our reason for working hard, we can more tactfully manage our resources. We can balance our work and rest because we know where we are headed. The synergistic relationship between work and rest is fascinating. The harder we work, the more we need rest. The more we rest, the harder we are able to work. Get the balance wrong and nothing will change. You’ll either burn out because you’re working too hard, or lose all discipline because all you do is rest. Get the balance right, and your capacity will grow more than you thought possible.

Spend some time thinking about what you’re working for, why you work so hard. If you’re burning the candle at both ends, give yourself time to rest. It’ll give you a greater capacity for work, and ensure that you’re moving the needle.

Be amazing.


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