As any of us who have started successful businesses will tell you, the leaders and early movers have to be ready, willing and able to work hours that are as long as they can bear; work-life balance is super, but when you’re trying to build or create something, your priorities must shift.
My point is that it’s misguided to tell those who are working to build businesses, to manage growth spurts and to turn around companies not to work so long and hard. Some people are able and willing to pull all-nighters, work weekends and/or get up in the wee hours to finish cranking out the proposal, and here's why.
1. We're only working hard for the season.
Just because we’re working around the clock to start a business doesn’t mean that we’ll be maintaining those hours forever. In fact, I’m in a season now where my workload is manageable, I’m making it to the gym regularly, and my work-life balance is pretty decent most days.
That will be the case until the next book, or the next big client project, the next business I build, or the next multi-day customized training workshop for women. It ebbs and it flows. Besides, most of us know that we’re not getting any younger, and the stamina will not last forever.
2. We enjoy working.
Many of those of us who are able to work long hours, and who have a smile on our faces, do it because we enjoy it. It may come as a shock, but it’s true. You might call me a workaholic, but I’ll call me an enthusiast.
The fact of the matter is that, many days, I wake up excited to get to work. And, once I’m there, I get in such a groove that I don’t even want to leave. Of course, it’s important that I get up and take breaks. But I love being in the zone with my passion.
3. There is an upside to working hard.
We have a goal. An endgame. The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel may be dim, but we know it’s there and we’re working toward it.
People everywhere are working for freedom to quit their day job, freedom to create lasting wealth, freedom to do what they want to do. To achieve these goals, the long hours are often nonnegotiable.
Sure, hard work alone is never, ever the solution. It’s about putting your passion into action and channeling your abilities to create the products, solutions, wealth and lifestyle you want to create. And we’re over here busy creating just that.
4. We are playing catch up after PTO.
If we are working really hard, it may be because we've fallen behind from not working so hard the week before. For example, perhaps we're just back from vacation, now we're playing double duty to wither down our overflowing email inboxes. Or perhaps we just missed a deadline last week because we were out of the office for some reason. Now we have to continue working on that project and this week’s work.
Telling us that we're working too hard just makes it feel worse — we know that what we’re doing is a lot more work than usual, but we have to do it. If we don’t, we risk losing our jobs.
5. We are aiming for a promotion.
Many of us who go the extra mile (and then some) are doing so because we know that there's a promotion up for grabs. We want to be noticed for our hard work and commitment, so we're working extra long hours and days so that our dedication is unmistakable.
This is a conscious effort on our parts, so you don't need to tell us that we're working too hard. We already know that what we’re doing is a lot more than what’s expected of us and our job role, and we’re doing that intentionally. But, then again, thanks for noticing, anyway.
Becky Sheetz is a speaker, trainer and martial arts master. She helps women master their competitive advantages and conquer their limitations with the world’s greatest strategist, Sun Tzu. Becky’s keynotes and corporate trainings are highly regarded for transforming the way women approach and live out their careers! @BeckySheetz