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Can Success Feel Like a Curse?

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Can Success Feel Like a Curse?

In my Groundhog Day post, I shared a powerful technique for getting stuff done, the stuff that really matters…

Eliminate. Delegate. Automate. Prioritize.

The responses I received could be summarized in one phrase…

“Amen…tell me more.”

Seems like I struck a nerve.  The thought of gaining greater control over how you spend your time sounds liberating.

And it absolutely is…but it takes commitment.

I learned the hard way.

Early in my career as an advisor, I was convinced that 60 plus hour work weeks were going to be the norm. (I hear this from a lot of you today.)

My mantra was: First-in, Last-out.

I figured that if I could beat my boss and the senior advisors in my office into work every morning and stay until after they left, I’d move up the asset and production rankings at lightning speed.

Truthfully, it worked.

But there was a big cost…because for everything we do there’s a an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s 3rd law).

…I lost friends because I didn’t have time for them.
…I was always tired.
…And I wasn’t happy.

The success I was building was causing failures in other areas of my life.  So I had to wonder…

“Is this worth it?”

And here’s the thing, I couldn’t give up.  It would be like quitting.  And I didn’t want to be a quitter.

So I kept going…and things got worse.

And not where I expected.

It was NOT just in my personal life.  You see, I had so many balls in the air, some of them started hitting the ground.

…Clients weren’t getting the service I promised.
…Prospects fell through the cracks.
…None of the administrative support wanted to work with me.
…And my boss thought I was a pest.

He resented my work ethic.

My long hours made him look bad to his more senior advisors.  He even tried to adjust his hours to beat me into the office.

I didn’t let him. (Yes, I know this sounds stupid!)

Here I was, on the fast track…but I was feeling like a LOSER.  Like the way you get teased when you’re the teacher’s pet.

And my teacher didn’t really like me.

I was…Overwhelmed. Burned-out. Exhausted.

And I was all alone in an office filled with dozens of other people.

After all…

Who wants to hang around with the guy who makes you look bad?  Who wants to work with the guy who works so many hours?

You would have thought I had a communicable disease.

On the plus side…

I was making good money.  Ranked in the top 10% of my peers.  Had a flow of new clients that couldn’t be stopped.

But it sucked.

And I couldn’t understand why.  Wasn’t that work ethic my parents taught me supposed to be the key to success?

For me, success felt like a curse.

When we’re battling the time demons, I think we all feel this way.  We get on the hamster-wheel and we can’t get off.

After I crawled out from under my desk and worked up the courage to speak with a mentor of mine, he pointed out something that was terribly wrong.

I was focusing on the wrong variable…hours in the office.

My First-in, Last-out mentality was a trap.

For now, just let me say that if you’re working too many hours or leaving the office at the end of the day feeling guilty…there’s a solution.

Suffice it to say…

…you CAN can get hours back in your days.
…you do NOT have to sacrifice time for money or greater success.
…you doing LESS is often the best answer.

I had to learn that the hard way…and the price was steep.

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