My heart breaks for those who willingly sacrifice their hearts for their careers.
My former boss willingly, proudly even, sacrificed his health and his heart for his job, his company and his career. It was so hard to work for someone so striving.
I think I offended him when I asked him once, “Why?”
Why do you want to move up? Why are you pushing so hard? Is it the money? The prestige? Why?
After he swallowed the brashness of my question, he said it was because he was bored in what he was doing and wanted to move into a more challenging position. He believed the way to be challenged was to slog away in tasks he disliked for 60+ hours a week, until the power structure smiled on him and offered him a hand up. It didn’t compute for me. I think there was more to it.
He was a consumed man. He stated he disliked his family. He wasn’t healthy. He drank. He wouldn’t let people in, from what I observed. His heart was locked down.
I’ve never had a problem with hard work. I think we need it. We need to be challenged, refine our craft, grow, learn and achieve - which all come through work.
But what if we never ask ourselves why?
There’s probably hundreds of different ways my former boss could have been challenged that didn’t involve giving almost all his waking hours to a company that may give him a chance to move into a more challenging job, at some point in time.
We need to dig to discover our why.
A healthy why won’t sacrifice you for it. It will sustain you. It won’t ask you to give up your health, it will ask you to prioritize it so you can see your why through. It won’t ask you to lock down your heart, because your heart is what will fuel it. A healthy why isn’t created by your parents, your friends or your limitations. A healthy why was written in you.
I mourn for those not chasing a healthy why.
Ways to know if your current why is unhealthy:
- it leaves you feeling useless day-in and day-out
- you still feel like someone else holds permission for your life - your boss, your parents, your spouse
- you feel that your life is set on a path different than your heart
- you feel like your heart has to be shut down to do your work
It’s not hard work vs. our health.
It’s not a mission vs. our desires.
It’s not our skills vs. our heart.
A healthy why engages our hearts, requires hard work, esteems our health and uses our skills. Those who find complete consistency are the whole ones.
How do you figure out your why?
In figuring out all my whys, and there are many, I see a common thread connect them all - they are always who I’ve been. The moments when I’ve felt most alive in the past are connected to what’s always been written in me.
A healthy why won't sacrifice who you are. It is who you are.
The more you fight against your healthy why, the more unhealthy you will be. Please pursue your healthy why. We need it. We need you.