The Hard Work Myth
We all know that designers are busy right now. It’s fun and rewarding to have lots of clients, even if everything doesn’t go as planned.
However, I see designers working so much that they’ve reached exhaustion, and that’s not a badge of honor.
And it doesn’t have to be that way.
In America, we grow up as kids with the idea that we need to work really hard to be successful. While that’s a good message for kids to hear so that they can do well in school, sometimes that idea crosses over into aspects of our lives as adults.
I recently worked with a designer who mentioned she was completely exhausted by all the work she did last year. Even though she made a great deal of money, it came at a cost.
The money came at the expense of having no time with her family or husband. Her health suffered because she didn’t have time to exercise, and her spiritual life was negatively impacted as well.
As we worked through this challenge, she discovered that she didn’t feel that she deserved all that money unless she worked that hard.
The path to success is not through exhaustion.
One of my favorite authors, Brené Brown, talks about the danger of exhaustion as a status symbol and using productivity as a metric of self-worth in her book Daring Greatly. She states that:
“The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness…If we want to live a wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating sleep and play and letting go of exhaustion.”
Being intentional is about making a decision to do it that way.
It’s deciding that you want it all. You are not willing to be exhausted to make a good living, have good design jobs, and help people, but you also want a family, relationships, and health.
All of it is possible because it’s a choice. It’s unnecessary to be a hamster on a wheel and constantly stay in the same place with your design business and not go anywhere.
Instead, you can choose to put the “rocks” in your life first. At IDBA, we call the “rocks” those elements that nurture and support you in your life, such as your family, relationships, health, and spirituality. These are the things that really need to be there so that your life is rich, fulfilling, healthy, and connected.
You have to put those “rocks” into your schedule first because they will keep you solid. Then, you can let work fill in your time around them.
When you put a “rock” on your calendar, you are making an appointment with yourself. You’re giving yourself the same respect that you would to any client. You do not lie or break appointments with yourself.
It’s essential to put boundaries in place to keep the “rocks” there because that’s what keeps you nourished and makes your life fun, beautiful and balanced. That is the abundance, and exhaustion doesn’t fall into the “abundance” category.
Now, of course, there will be times when you will have to hustle to get things done, but that’s not a sustainable way of operating. It will completely destroy you and your design business.
Watch the video above where I discuss the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule, which applies to any business. It basically states that 80% of your income comes from 20% of what you’re doing. If you can figure out what that 20% is, you can let go of the 80%, start making more money, and have more free time.
At the core of our programs here at IDBA is having a rich, abundant, and balanced life, including all the wonderful things like family, health, spirituality, and money.
If you’re interested in learning what abundance can bring to your life and design business, that’s what we’re all about. Schedule a clarity call with one of our coaches to start your journey to a more abundant life today.
Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.