I’ll admit. I drank the Kool-Aid. I once believed that in order to achieve success, I had to sacrifice sleep, quality time with my loved ones, self care and the list goes on. And you want to know what happened? I achieved success, I reached some of my goals, but I lost sight of what was truly important- my well-being. I gained weight, I became sluggish and fatigued and I spent very little time with my family.
I knew there was a better way.
So I started studying successful people who achieved work/life balance. I wanted to know what time they went to bed, what time they woke up, how much time they spent at the gym, how many vacations they took, etc. I used that information to establish a blueprint for what I wanted my life to look like and I started to make the necessary changes.
It is not easy to adjust.
It’s not easy because it goes against everything that we’re taught. We are taught to be laborers not dreamers. And that’s wrong. We are taught to sacrifice our well-being for a paycheck. We are taught to chase the American Dream as though there’s a one-size-fits-all dream for humanity. We all have dreams and all of our dreams are valid.
It’s time to make ourselves a priority.
Stop right now and ask yourself, “When’s the last time I did something for me?” I mean really think about it. When’s the last time you just sat in the quiet and meditated? Now, remember, it is not easy to adjust. And I still have my moments- checking emails every five minutes, carrying my mobile phones with me wherever I go, not giving myself time to truly rest, because I’m working on other projects. Trust me, I get it. But if you’re not present, if you do not give yourself time to recharge, what will life look like for you down the line? You may achieve your definition of success but at what cost? I can assure you that the people who love and care about you the most don’t care about how much money you earn or how many material possessions you own, they just want you to be around.
True success, I’ve learned, is not about the things- the money, the nice houses, the nice cars, the exotic vacations, etc. True success, in my opinion, is good health, financial security, a strong marriage, mental clarity, spiritual enlightenment, serving and inspiring others, seeing the world, giving freely without expecting anything in return, being able to play with my kids (future kids), falling asleep with my wife in my arms, seeing my family happy and whole, the list goes on, but this is my success. This is my joy.
Life is a journey and life is a gift. Enjoy it. Don’t get tangled up in the chase and forget to be fully present. You can gain a lot in this world, but you can never replace your time. Invest it wisely and make yourself, your joy, your well-being, a priority.
As a follow up to this blog post, check out this great article by Arianna Huffington titled, “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.”