Everyone's familiar with the cliche of the workaholic - the person who can't set work aside for fun, family, or anything else. For anyone who's driven by achievement, it can be very easy to become overly invested in their work; it doesn't help that there always seems to be more to do. (This problem is only increased when you're an entrepreneur, and feel solely responsible for the success, or failure, of your business.)
I'll be the first to say that I think working a lot is totally valid. Kyle and I share a common irritation with the the term "work/life balance," as it seems to imply that our work is totally separate from everything else in our lives, something that isn't necessarily realistic for business owners.I also think a lot of entrepreneurs, myself included, are fueled by the excitement and momentum of building our businesses, and it's totally okay to be fully immersed in that for stretches of times.
Still, work addiction is totally a thing. Piggybacking on my recent post "5 Signs You're Burnt Out," here are five signs you're obsessed with work:
Your FOMO extends to emails and phone calls. "Fear of Missing Out" is totally real. And, while it usually refers to worrying about missing social engagements or being left out of of opportunities, it can apply to worrying about missing clients, too. A work addict checks emails obsessively and stresses about missing a single phone call, for fear of dropping a sale.
You're paranoid about your competition. I'm a firm believer in the idea that actual, legitimate competition is healthy, and not a negative thing at all. It's great to be generally aware of what others in your field are doing, and how you can maintain your unique selling points and your place in the market. Still, if you're obsessing about what your competitors are doing, to the point where you're stalking them on social media and blaming every lost sale and missed opportunity on them, you've veered into the very opposite of healthy.
You can't set boundaries to save your life. If your work is causing you to sacrifice your health, relationships (including your relationship with yourself) and social life, you're lacking boundaries. If you believe you have to be accessible 24/7 to clients and colleagues to maintain a successful business, you're lacking boundaries. And when you're lacking boundaries, work can quickly become all-encompassing and you'll burn out that much faster.
You stress constantly about your brand. Please know that I'm all about that brand - I coach business owners on branding and marketing all the time. Having a brand identity that accurately represents you and your business is tremendously important. Still, there comes a point when you have to decide you're satisfied and then get to the real work. If you feel your brand is holding you back, consider whether the issue is really one of color palettes and fonts, or if it's a larger matter of your mindset and your fears.
You find yourself overcompensating, always.In one Facebook group I participate in, the term "fraudy feelings" comes up a lot. Business owners often find themselves going the extra mile for their clients and their colleagues, mainly because of a sense of fear. If they aren't better than everyone else, they're a fraud. And while this feeling is totally relatable, it's also guaranteed to hold you back from working with confidence and at a sustainable pace over time.
If any of these signs ring true to you, consider trying some of the burnout solutions linked in my previous post, since you're most certainly heading in that direction. Think also about how a coaching session might benefit you in addressing the real reasons behind your work addiction and in identifying ways you can work more effectively and less obsessively. I want all of us to be in this wedding business game for the long haul!