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Getting Too Intense About Work

Getting Too Intense About Work

It’s easy to get intense about your work. Most people, deep down, believe what they do is valuable and important. They care about it. The employees most likely to feel burnout are the ones who put more of themselves into their job, spend more time at work, and take work more personally. But it’s a major step from there to treating your job with such intensity it starts to take over nearly all of your life.

Are you working harder and harder and feel like you’re getting nothing done? The problem may lie in your mind, not in your ability to organize your schedule. Piling on the intensity is the typical response of a potential workaholic to increased job demands. It’s also likely to be a major part of the cause of the increase. Overwork and frenetic intensity are great ways to lower productivity and increase mistakes and reworking. The employee who is approaching burnout is likely to be the last to see it. Until then, he or she will probably try methods of coping that make the problem worse — like increasing the hours spent at work, becoming even more personally involved in work problems and trying to drive away the blues by increased effort and concentration. You may be able to outperform your colleagues, but you can’t outperform your own limits.

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Surviving Burnout

Don’t just shrug off burnout as superstition or think you’re immune. It’s a serious issue that can wreck lives and produce problems for other people as well. The good news is burnout is entirely survivable. And your teammates and coworkers are more likely to be part of the solution that the cause of the problem.

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In most cases, they’ll already know there’s something wrong. They’ll have sensed the difference in your behavior and seen the change in your mood. If they’re keeping their distance, you’ve probably been growling every time they came near you. Any good manager will already have started to investigate to find out what’s wrong. It’s their job. But not every manager is good; and some see the problem and apply James Thurber’s classic remedy of “don’t think about it and it will go away.”

In the end, it’s up to you. Your health and well-being is more your concern than anyone’s. Change comes best from within. Slow down. Take time out to think and reflect on your needs. Break problems down into smaller pieces. Start with the most obvious bit and ignore all the rest. Then take the next piece. Never try to drive ahead and work your way out of the problem by making still more effort.

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As long as you take on tough assignments and push yourself you run the risk of going to far. What you need it to learn where your limits lie and stay this side of them. Pay attention to what works and doesn’t work for you. Forget the macho nonsense that you can take whatever the world throws at you. You can’t and nor can anyone else. If they say they can, they’re fools. The sooner you slow down and allow your own best ways of coping with life to guide your actions, the better off you’ll be.

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Adrian Savage is an Englishman and a retired business executive who lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for anyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

In Personal Development-speak, we are always talking about goals, outcomes, success, desires and dreams. In other words, all the stuff we want to do, achieve and create in our world.

And while it’s important for us to know what we want to achieve (our goal), it’s also important for us to understand why we want to achieve it; the reason behind the goal or some would say, our real goal.

Why is goal setting important?

1. Your needs and desire will be fulfilled.

Sometimes when we explore our “why”, (why we want to achieve a certain thing) we realize that our “what” (our goal) might not actually deliver us the thing (feeling, emotion, internal state) we’re really seeking.

For example, the person who has a goal to lose weight in the belief that weight loss will bring them happiness, security, fulfillment, attention, popularity and the partner of their dreams. In this instance, their “what” is weight-loss and their “why” is happiness (etc.) and a partner.

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Six months later, they have lost the weight (achieved their goal) but as is often the case, they’re not happier, not more secure, not more confident, not more fulfilled and in keeping with their miserable state, they have failed to attract their dream partner.

After all, who wants to be with someone who’s miserable? They achieved their practical goal but still failed to have their needs met.

So they set a goal to lose another ten pounds. And then another. And maybe just ten more. With the destructive and erroneous belief that if they can get thin enough, they’ll find their own personal nirvana. And we all know how that story ends.

2. You’ll find out what truly motivates you

The important thing in the process of constructing our best life is not necessarily what goals we set (what we think we want) but what motivates us towards those goals (what we really want).

The sooner we begin to explore, identify and understand what motivates us towards certain achievements, acquisitions or outcomes (that is, we begin moving towards greater consciousness and self awareness), the sooner we will make better decisions for our life, set more intelligent (and dare I say, enlightened) goals and experience more fulfilment and less frustration.

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We all know people who have achieved what they set out to, only to end up in the same place or worse (emotionally, psychologically, sociologically) because what they were chasing wasn’t really what they were needing.

What we think we want will rarely provide us with what we actually need.

3. Your state of mind will be a lot healthier

We all set specific goals to achieve/acquire certain things (a job, a car, a partner, a better body, a bank balance, a title, a victory) because at some level, most of us believe (consciously or not) that the achievement of those goals will bring us what we really seek; joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

Of course, setting practical, material and financial goals is an intelligent thing to do considering the world we live in and how that world works.

But setting goals with an expectation that the achievement of certain things in our external, physical world will automatically create an internal state of peace, contentment, joy and total happiness is an unhealthy and unrealistic mindset to inhabit.

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What you truly want and need

Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious (superficial) goals to discover and secure what we really want.

Sadly, we live in a collective mindset which teaches that the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most successful.

Some self-help frauds even teach this message. If you’re rich or pretty, you’re happy. If you’re both, you’re very happy. Pretty isn’t what we really want; it’s what we believe pretty will bring us. Same goes with money.

When we cut through the hype, the jargon and the self-help mumbo jumbo, we all have the same basic goals, desires and needs:

Joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

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Nobody needs a mansion or a sport’s car but we all need love.

Nobody needs massive pecs, six percent body-fat, a face lift or bigger breasts but we all need connection, acceptance and understanding.

Nobody needs to be famous but we all need peace, calm, balance and happiness.

The problem is, we live in a culture which teaches that one equals the other. If only we lived in a culture which taught that real success is far more about what’s happening in our internal environment, than our external one.

It’s a commonly-held belief that we’re all very different and we all have different goals — whether short term or long term goals. But in many ways we’re not, and we don’t; we all want essentially the same things.

Now all you have to do is see past the fraud and deception and find the right path.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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