How do I look?
How do I sound?
Am I prepared?
Did I cover every potential issue?
Did my slide deck work well?
Did I say too much?
Did I say too little?
What do people really think of my work?
Work can be exhausting...and I'm not even talking about doing the actual work.
After so many years in traditional conservative corporate environments I fully appreciate the series of questions above. My colleagues and I literally worried about this stuff day after day after day.
While it's important to be prepared and present well, I've discovered as I look back that the snap judgments that abound in those settings are ridiculous.
Why in the world would we judge someone based on one presentation? Why is it that an obsession with playing office politics is more important than pushing boundaries, challenging old-school thinking, and constantly taking risks to help the organization break through to a whole new level.
By the way...organizations often herald their cultures, but rarely back up that rhetoric by rewarding risk takers. The risk-takers are the first ones ostracized and targeted for retaliation because "they are no longer a good fit."
People are not shoes. We can be more flexible on "fit" with human beings.
I've (finally) recognized that I can not honestly separate who I am professionally from the person I am outside of work. Work/Life balance is a fallacy. For me it is simply about life balance.
I've integrated my work, music, fitness, social media, blogging, representing my amazing company and time with family and friends all into one wild ride.
The days of a dual existence are over for me. It is only about living my life to the absolute fullest every minute of every day. It's about pushing myself...trying new things...failing occasionally...and finding new ways to hustle.
How About You
Are you still leading two lives? How does that feel? For me, it was an exhausting struggle that ultimately no longer made sense. Professionalism will always be required...just don't sell out and become something you're not.
The personal side of you is awesome...make sure you let that side show too.
I'd love to hear from you.