Are you driven to success no matter what?
How's that working for you?
My career has been spent with driven people: I get them, I understand them, I am one.
And yet at some point you have to ask yourself if the price we pay is worth it.
Being succesful professionally is not a solo gig: you need support groups both real and virtual, both personal and professional to help you achieve all the things you aim to. Are you caring for those groups? Do you acknowledge what your friends and family give up for you to be succesful? Do you ever thank them?
The people in you life – loved ones, peers, professors, etc. – are enagaged with you because they value that. Something about you makes them want to be a part of your life. Are you letting that part of you thrive or, as some do once career becomes paramount are you focusing so much of your time and energy on that you're losing your sense of self.
Success is a marathon of late nights, early mornings, weekend work and a multitude of other efforts to do our jobs well. And if we love our work – if we have a true calling with passion – those efforts don't seem onerous and it will not even seem like work.
That's great. If you're in a position to live your life's passion you should fully enjoy it. Yet even here, the time and energy we put into career comes at the expense of someone or something else.
Is it worth it?
Everyone's reality is unique. Everyone's home life and vision of a personal life is different. So is what you're doing working? Only you can answer that.
Your drive to succeed is just as unique as your personal life. No one else is going to vicariously enjoy and appreciate it as you do. So if you're focused on your professional success to the extent that relationships and activities suffer and ultimately whither, only you can say if that's worth it.
The truth is worklife balance is a myth. Male or female cultural stereotypes work against us in many subtle ways and the need to provide for families in uncertain economic times only multiplies demands. Its hard to balance these competing needs.
Perhaps a more accesible approach is to keep in front of you – on a calendar, a note taped to the mirror, etc – a couple of key thoughts about the life and the relationships that matter to you. Whatever they are. However you phrase them. What counts.
Look at these thoughts when you pull another late night, blow off beer with your buddies after work, miss another birthday party or let your partner eat alone again.
Ask yourself at those moments, when you make those choices, if that's the life you want to lead.
If being driven means to drive others away.