Get in Touch
Last week I ran a Strengths Challenge for people interested in
exploring the things that they're good at that give them energy and the things they're
good at that actually drain their energy. It was a lovely week with lots of
enthusiasm, sharing and a few "light bulb" moments for participants.
When I run Challenges and Programmes, I always share my own
profile to bring things to life for participants. As you can imagine, I'm quite au
fait with my own strengths and how I use them which means ... that
I can be complacent about them as well.
But last Friday, without really looking for one, I experienced my
own light bulb moment: physician heal thyself.
one of the 60 strengths measured by the Strengths Profile. Its definition is
"You are very hard working, putting a lot of effort into what you
do". For me, it's my number 1 Learned Behaviour. In fact, it's the world's
most common Learned Behaviour in this profile. This means that we're really
good at working hard but that it de-energises us (a lot) and we do it (a lot).
But what I've noticed when I talk about Work Ethic is that I gloss
over it and laugh.
"Well, I started my career in the City in the 90s - we worked
hard and played hard. It's a habit."
"I run my own business. You have to work hard."
Er ... what would I be saying to a client that was telling me
this? Yes, I would be saying "what can you do differently to become less
reliant on this de-energising behaviour?"
So, I am rising to the challenge to give some thought as to why we
are still working so hard and what we can do about it!
Why are we working so hard?
Well, if you're of a certain age then the 80s / 90s "lunch is
for wimps" working culture (thanks Wall Street) has a lot to answer for.
And it still perpetuates in a lot of industries today. I know people who work
in organisations where asking someone to do something at 6 pm that is going to
take them 4 hours and you want it today is absolutely acceptable.
Technology has a lot to answer for as we are always "on"
and always available. If your boss sends you an email or WhatsApp at 9 pm or on
a Sunday, you answer it. You tell yourself that it's the right thing to do
because it gets it out of your head and you can then go back to relaxing. But
the fact is that work has encroached on your personal time. I can't tell you
the amount of people who have told me that they answer emails on holiday
because it's easier than coming back to a mountainous inbox (was that you?).
And, of course, our old friend COVID-19 has made the situation
worse in a lot of ways. Working from home has blurred our boundaries so that
work can easily encroach on our personal time; we are scared of redundancy if
our business is adversely impacted by a recession so we work extra hard to be
invaluable; we are scared that our business revenues will drop and we'll have
to try to find a job; we are scared that there are no other jobs out there
(this is not true by the way).
In short, hard work is a habit that is very difficult to break as
it's tied up with our sense of value and worth. It's also driven by our very
compelling friend, fear.
What can we do?
I want to challenge you, as well as myself, to make some changes.
Back to my question: "what can you do differently to become less reliant
on this de-energising behaviour?".
Please don't dismiss this question as I have so often done. We can all make
small adjustments in the right direction. Do what I did and "take the
question for a walk". I so often come up with answers when walking on my
own and contemplating a good question.
answers will be different for all of us, here are some areas that I think will
commonly make a difference.
I hope that's given you some ideas and I'm sure you can come up
with some small changes that will make a big difference. I'd love to hear your
intentions. Perhaps we can compare notes at the end of the year and see how we
If you would like this weekly blog sent directly to your inbox, as well as receive a copy of my “Top 3 Ways to Boost Your Career Happiness Right Now,” please click here.