In Doing Work That Matters, Longevity Is The Ultimate Goal
I'm not the hardest working person in my industry, not even close. I don't get up at 5:00am to bike 30 miles. I don't drink wheatgrass everyday. I don’t put in 60 hours a week at the office.
I’m ambitious, sure, but my goal isn't to be the best, or even the most successful. My goal is to have staying power. Through rain, sleet, and snow, I aim to outlast everyone.
In doing work that matters, longevity is the ultimate aspiration. Because it is in decades of work that you’ll have the most impact.
How To Fight The Good Fight For Your Entire Life
My simple solution isn’t revolutionary, but it’s a lost art in our modern world:
Commit to Ordering Your Private World.
Our "private world" is the world outside of work. It’s family time, it’s gardening time, it’s lounging in sweats in front of the television time. Our private world is a world of rest, reflection, prayer, and of Sabbath.
Want to do work that matters your entire life? Order your private world.
From Gordon MacDonald,
“There is a temptation to give imbalanced attention to our public worlds at the expense of the private - More programs, more meetings, more learning, more relationships, more busyness. Until it all becomes so heavy that we teeter on the verge of collapse. Fatigue, disillusionment, failure, and defeat all become frightening possibilities.”
Ordering your private world means scheduling rest and reflection in the same way you schedule meetings and events.
To order your private world is to tell the rest of us that you’re in it for the long haul.
You’re not going away. You won’t get burned out. You’re here to outlast all of us.
Most importantly, ordering your private world is the intimate connection to the Creator. To stray too far into a public world disconnects you from the life force who put you here in the first place. Our private world should radiate influence to the outside world, rather than letting the outer world influence us.
This quote changed my life forever,
“When I get home after a long day, I go to the chapel and pray. I say to the Lord, ‘There it is for today, things are finished. Now let’s be serious, is this diocese mine or yours?’ The Lord says, ‘What do you think?’ I answer, ‘I think it is yours.’ ‘That is true,’ the Lord says, ‘it is mine.’ And so I say, ‘Listen, Lord, it is your turn to take responsibility for and direct the diocese. I’m going to sleep.’” – Cardinal Dannels of Brussels
The final four words of that quote hit me like a ton of bricks: “I’m. Going. To. Sleep.”
This is about spiritually as much as it’s about biochemistry.
Physicists understand energy as the capacity to do work. Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable. Yet, taking more time off is a foreign concept for most of us. The Atlantic Reports that Americans have the worst work/life balance in the entire world.
Did you know:
+ More than one-third of employees eat lunch at their desks on a regular basis.
+ More than 50 percent assume they’ll work during their vacations.
+ In a study of nearly 400 employees, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out.
+ A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.
+ The Harris Interactive found that Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012 — up from 6.2 days in 2011.
The list goes on and on…
You start small to order your private world.
I don't do emails on the weekends. Nothing is too important that it can’t wait until Monday. I've promised my wife that I’ll only do 4 weeks of international travel per year. Could I buck those rules and do more, raise more money, be more successful? Probably. But I wouldn't make it through 2014 with my life intact.
Is your goal flash-in-the-pan success? Great. Work yourself to death, don't sleep, burn out, and accomplish nothing. If your goal is long-term impact, order your private world.
How To Be Excellent At Anything - Tony Schwartz
Photo Credit Desktop Nexus