This past week was a bitch. For most of it I just didn’t feel good. I had a persistent and annoying headache and I couldn’t get rid of it. I tried allergy meds…Ibuprofen…Aleve…nothing worked. I went out for a run on Monday and Tuesday and I felt so bad and so fatigued that I finally threw in the proverbial towel and decided I was taking the rest of the week off from any kind of working out.
Then to cap the week off, I drove myself to the ER Saturday night with a fever and excruciating, down on my knees, teeth clenched, back pain that only got worse by the minute. After 4 hours in the ER with suspected kidney stones, they couldn’t confirm anything and sent me home at 1:45 am. Awesome. Can’t wait to see the bill for this late night excursion that resulted in absolutely nothing productive being accomplished.
Life can beat us up sometimes if we allow it and if we don’t listen to what our bodies and minds are telling us. Like a lot of you, I work full time and this time of year for me is always extremely busy. Also like most of you, I have responsibilities at home that at times seem never ending probably because they are never ending.
In addition to my job, I try to work out 5 times a week, either running or lifting. The damn grass also keeps growing, the dishes appear out of nowhere, they’re either going in the dishwasher or coming out of the dishwasher but they never seem to be where I would prefer them, which is in the cabinets. The mower dies and then I’m told it can’t be fixed. One of the dogs stinks because of an ear infection and allergies, which of course requires a visit to the vet, which of course takes time and costs money.
We hear a lot about the word “hustle” in today’s world and while I’m a big believer in working hard for what you want in life, even hustle has its limits. It doesn’t have to mean all out, all day, every day. Some people might be drawn to this lifestyle thinking it’s the only way to achieve what they want but I’m increasingly convinced it’s not.
The human body has a way of letting us know when it needs a break. If we ignore what it’s trying to tell us the consequences can be quite brutal. This past week was a perfect example of my body telling me it needed a rest.
What got me to this place, for better or worse, was a perfectionist mentality combined with extreme discipline. Up to this point in my life that mindset has served me very well. I’ve used it to train and run marathons and numerous other distance races. I’ve reached the level of black belt in Okinawan Karate. I’ve used it to reach a certain level of financial success through consistent and disciplined saving and investing. And I’ve also used it when I worked full time while going to school at night to earn my Bachelor’s degree.
Sometimes this hustle, drive and discipline comes with a real cost though. That cost is mental and physical fatigue, as I witnessed first-hand this week. I need to find a way to transition from working and pushing hard to working and pushing smart. Simply put, I need to chill the f**k out and learn how to relax more. Also simply put, I have absolutely no idea how to do this. So…baby steps.
You’ve heard all of this before, I’m sure. Great business leaders don’t necessarily work harder than those around them but they are able to maximize their time each day and work smarter. Great athletes, as we’ve heard many times, tell us how important it is as we get older to become smarter in how we train and compete because the body, not surprisingly, has its limits.
So with all of that said, my goal going forward is to listen more to my body and take what it says seriously so I can make sure I stay healthy going forward. It won’t be easy because I’ve lived my entire life operating this way but now I think it’s time to consider a new game plan. One that could result in a healthier, more flexible lifestyle while still maintaining a sufficient level of drive and discipline; just not to the point that it turns into a liability. Put in a more concise way I’m talking about hustle with balance. Wish me luck.