As an aging male in a world that seems to move and change sometimes at the speed of light, something that I, and we all take for granted, our health, has become a paramount focus for me. And as a result, I came to the realization first hand that although we all talk a good game on taking care of our health and living a healthy lifestyle, none of us truly knows what that means in reality until our health deteriorates to a place where if we do not have our health, we have nothing. So why is this important and how does it relate to working smart and choosing purposefully? Well, anyone who is ambitious, self-motivated and persistent will tell you that they can take on a lot of work and get it all done, all on the road to advancing their career or “moving up the ladder.” But what if doing so adds to a level of stress and poor health that will force your physical body to hit the wall? What if your body or mind says, “NO MORE!!” What if your ambitious journey of career management also includes unhealthy habits and thinking that provides loyalty to your employer but has no space for your own integrity? I recently had to face this very question and here is what I realized. Without my health, my quality of life, my ability to be gainfully employed, my ability to function and contribute, my ability to travel, my ability to be a supportive co-worker, my ability to be a good father and friend would be all for nothing. During that realization I was competing for a role in the company I work for that I had prepared myself to qualify for over a 2-3 year period. And one of the first things I did when my health became a front and center issues was to remove myself from the competition for that role. I looked at all of the other projects and assignments I had voluntarily taken on as a way of adding value to our organization and slowly, one by one, I am relinquishing my involvement in those projects and leaving them in very capable hands, leaving myself to focus on the work I was hired to do and am paid to exceed at.
Why have I taken this course of action? Because (and here is the message) I realized that there are other purposes for my life that are not tied to my professional life. I realized that working is a means of providing value to my employer and client in exchange for the income that affords me the lifestyle that I choose to live and support. And I realized that I needed to be loyal to my immediate needs while ensuring that my regular duties were taken care of with integrity and diligence.
I realize that all of us have a very individual view on this issue and I respect that you do. But what if your health takes front and center in your life and you are faced with real questions about your life and living? I hope getting to the place of evaluating all that you do does not take getting sick or being in a state of compromised health before you choose wisely for yourself. Look around. Find the purpose of your life.