What’s ironic is that although you are very likely NOT the exception to the rule, you are very much in the majority in believing that you are.
No matter how capable or productive you are, if you keep pushing yourself, you will hit a point where you can’t keep up. And the risk of being in that position is enormous.
A few years ago, in one of my peer support groups, I met and built a friendship with a senior level executive who is still one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. He was managing two dozen people and was also acting as an individual contributor.
And although his contributions were exemplary, he was running himself into the ground. The work kept piling on, and eventually, something slipped. Of course it did. We’re all only human.
Management took a backseat to “getting the work done.” This executive worked himself into a corner. He couldn’t shake the story that the best thing he could do was keep working harder.
As a result, the company’s relationships with some of its larger accounts suffered and others were even lost. Working hard cost the company critical relationships and hundreds of thousands of dollars off their bottom line.
Working too hard hurts your business.
I’ve written about the CEO’s need to find time to step back and simply think. The same is true for your executive leadership.
When you’re buried in work, you aren’t able to pick up your head and look around. When you have time, you start to notice all the things that are wrong and need improvement.
Of course, it’s uncomfortable to notice what’s not working. It’s easier to stay busy and avoid thinking about the bigger issues.
But if you—or one of your team members—is consistently working yourself into the dirt, you’re probably doing it wrong. And you’re hurting yourself and your business more than you know.
There is some good news. Working too hard is a habit, and habits can change. It takes discipline to change a habit, but it’s possible.