Often people look for the right way to work hard and be successful. I have a different approach: want success? Take it easy.
Waking Up in a Pool of Blood
In February of 2011 less than 6 years after being launched the Huffington Post was acquired by AOL for $315 million. A year later it was ranked as the most popular political site by eBizMBA Rank based on its Alexa Global Traffic Rank.
It was named after Arianna Huffington, one of four people who founded it in May of 2005. Although the site grew and attracted a lot of attention, it came with a price.
Just two years and a month after being founded, Arianna Huffington woke up in a pool of blood. It’s something that changed her life and something that showed her if you want success, take it easy.
A Bloody Fall
That day as she was on the phone and checking emails, she passed out. When she came to she was in a pool of blood with a broken cheekbone and a cut over her eye.
She went to the doctor, terrified. It took nearly a week of tests to determine the cause. It turns out there was a simple answer: she was exhausted.
She had been working 18-hour days to build her brand and she had pushed herself too far. She realized something before it was too late: if you want success, take it easy.
The Downside of Overwork
You don’t have to take a nasty tumble to succumb to overwork. Success is driven by passion – real enjoyment for what you do. Overwork can turn the color of excitement for what you do into a gray mess of constant struggle. It’s hard to continue a high pace of work when you find no enjoyment in it.
If you want to be successful, you have to love what you’re doing. Feeling stuck and overwhelmed, like you’re constantly doing monotonous task after monotonous task will not help you find success. Instead, it will make you feel like Florence Chadwick, the first woman to swim the English Channel.
A World of Gray
When Chadwick tried to swim from Catalina Island to the California mainland, she was ready to do something exciting. But after fifteen long hours seeing nothing but fog and the accompanying boat beside her, she gave in. Why? Because she couldn’t see the shore.
After swimming 25 miles then jumping in the boat, it wasn’t long before she saw what she had been searching for: land was just about a mile away. The next day she shared something with the world, “… I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”
It’s hard to continue on when life is nothing but work. When it all seems gray, it makes it challenging. Instead, f you want success, take it easy.
Take it Easy
Now when I say “take it easy” I don’t mean to become a couch potato. Far from it. In fact, I want you to be the most productive you’ve been.
But there are two things you need to remember and they are the same: take it easy.
First, don’t overdo it. If you work too much your passion diminishes. When you don’t take time for yourself and connect with people close to you, your passion ends up becoming less of a choice and more of a chore. Things go from new and exciting to numb and exhausting.
Take it Easy
The way to resolve this is the second thing: take it easy. In other words, avoid big tasks. Avoid requiring too much of yourself in one chunk. Don’t overdo it.
Instead of planning a day of construction, plan several tasks of picking up cabinets, measuring and marking placement, staining wood, etc. Instead of putting together an investment presentation, plan to create three points and a call to action, create an outline, find pictures, etc.
Break your work down into easy to do tasks and focus on getting things done. Then, make sure you pack in plenty of you time even if it’s just a five minute walk every half hour.
Want Success? Take it Easy
We all want success, but sometimes we overdo it.
If you want to be highly productive, don’t overwork yourself. You may feel like you’re getting a lot done, but if you keep at it for too long, you won’t be able to keep up.
Break down your tasks into easy to manage chunks. Find ways to make it fun and build successful habits. Enjoy yourself. Make the most of your efforts.
After all, success isn’t just about what we accomplish, but the life we create. Make yours the way you want to live it.