Here’s Hope for Workaholics

photo of Rox having a beach day

I am in a writer’s group and also I also coach a mindful social business group where we each post daily progress and process notes about how well we are inching along to our daily, weekly, and session goals. The Q&A is designed to motivate and feed the brain so it wants to do more, by acknowledging accomplishments of any sort, and to raise consciousness, by exposing the critical self-talk that hinders so many, so often.

On Sunday night, I posted my updates and now I want to share them with you. This public sharing serves to anchor an “aha” in my own world – I do it to expose my inner critic and build muscle for the new ideas. Then, if you find it useful, I just love that!

First, the Artist Date:

I had an artist date today. Rode my bike to the beach, swam (in and out) several times, LAID DOWN (OMG – I almost never do that!), walked, and rode my bike the long way home. It is amazing how much that helped boost my mood and my physical energy.

Over the years, I’ve had an incredibly hard time dropping the work stuff and doing positive things to feed my mood and my energy. On the other hand, I’ve gotten really good at resting more; I endorse sleep as both a tonic for whatever ails you as well as an elixir that can reveal secrets to you. But stopping, “before things are done” is a challenge. This thought, “Just get it done now, so it isn’t hanging over you” has ruled too many days and nights for me. Being a Capricorn, and a workaholic, I can outwork almost everyone I know. That, my friends, is turning out to be more bad news than good news. My strength is also my weakness.

So the next realization, at the end of the day (around 10 pm, still working on the computer…) came in the next part of my update:

Second: My Inner Critic has hijacked one of my favorite traits

What came to me instantly was that workaholism is how kid me co-mingles my insatiable love of doing and creating things with her fear of not being good enough – that core issue of safety, security, and survival. It is the irrational driver of the limbic system, aka the unexamined life. She doesn’t think I deserve to be here unless I am over-performing and holding all the pieces together in three or four dimensions at once!

Just like the Shakespearean tragic flaw, your inner critic will take the very things you love and excel at, then hijack them to serve her undefined and irrational fears, couching them in language that sounds so reasonable and grown-up, but that is ultimately based on fear.

I often hear that song in my head, “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy” and yet, I keep working right through it. (Yes, embarrassing to admit that.) My inner critic has an endless list of replies:

  • Why stop now, you’re almost done? (Not necessarily; you know how things can keep popping up.)
  • It’s easier to keep going than to stop and start. (Not if I am tired and thinking poorly.)
  • The more you do today, the less there is to do tomorrow. (Haha! Seriously? The lists are on auto-refill, as each day brings new opportunities. My challenge lately is to say No to more, so I am saying “no more tonight.”)
  • You can sleep in. (Have you forgotten what I wrote above about loving my sleep?)

Crazy, huh? Because the point is to TRUST that stuff can be done tomorrow.

Tonight, I have “more work to do” but I am tired, so I am quitting. This post meets my “draft it in 15 minutes” Monday blog challenge. There’s always more to say and more to do. So it will have to be done tomorrow. This fever of workaholism is breaking, at long last. I am safe to stop now.