In a recent article by Arianna Huffington, reflecting on Hillary Clinton’s career trajectory and professional profile, the focus quickly shifts from Clinton to every wo(man).
Succinctly put, Huffington examines the current standards on which professional success is based: lack of sleep, overwork, and burnout – symptoms anyone who is highly accomplished, driven, dedicated (i.e., Hillary) can attest to and slogs through in the name of hard work, responsibility and contribution. However, these same people (author included) can also attest to impaired decision-making, lack of creativity and overall motivation at times. So, as professionals in a rapid-fire, information-rich, decision-heavy society, where do we go from here…
I think Hillary sums it up best, in her goals for her sabbatical. And, I quote:
“I hope I get to sleep in,” … “I don’t have any real plans to make any decisions, “…”I am really looking forward to stepping off the fast track that I’ve been on,”…”I don’t quite know how I’m going to adjust to not having a schedule and a lot of work that is in front of me that is expecting me to respond to minute by minute,”…”I just want to sleep and exercise and travel for fun. And relax…. I would like to see whether I can get untired.”
So, unless you are planning a sabbatical, the above is not entirely realistic in totality. However, just by the mere acknowledgement of these fundamental human needs for sleep, mental rest, and relaxation, Hillary is speaking for us all.
In my own search for the above, I have found the following to be true:
- Technology is our greatest ally in the battle against burnout. We live in an age with the ability to work from home and still connect via technology, VPN access to remote networks, cell phones with ever-decreasing rate plans and, of course, instantaneous email. The flexibility, ability to work according to your own circadian rhythms and maximize productivity, achieve work-life balance are ALL solved with flexible working arrangements. But, we are still fighting against the demons of late-adopters and those exceptions who simply are not disciplined enough to work remotely. Much like John Lennon imagined ” all the people living life in peace,” I imagine a world in which remote-workers are applauded and can seamlessly interact with those who insist on being office-bound, and where productivity soars because flexibility and work-life balance become achievable once more.
- No job, paycheck, benefits package nor perk is worth lowering the standards of integrity, respect and growth you have set for yourself. If you find yourself not only in the midst of lack of sleep, overwork, and burnout – but even worse, unfulfilled, disrespected , or declining in skills – you owe it to yourself to take the time to find another path to success.
- Define success for yourself. I am learning [the hard] way, that saying yes to everything – even the most worthwhile endeavors – just doesn’t work. Unless it is 100% happiness-guaranteed, I am probably going to say a gentle “No” for now.
- Try keeping things in perspective and prioritizing your needs: vacations (or staycations), more focus on being present in daily life, prayer, living as drama-free as you can, family/friends (the drama-free kind) and enjoying a nap whenever you can!
And maybe I’m dreaming, but the world needs Hillary not only to get herself “untired,” but in the next chapter of her life to become a role model for the idea that one can both be untired and successful.
Wishing You Success,