Episode 005 - How do I know if I’m a workaholic?
Episode 005 is such a critical listen for anyone who remotely thinks they are a workaholic. The consequences of an extreme workaholic behaviour are not experienced in the now, they are often delayed by decades and can impact your health, relationships and even your finances.
In this episode Dr Ro & Harms dissect a workaholic and discuss 3 important areas:
- The signs that indicate you are a workaholic
- What is causing the workaholic behaviour
- How to deal with this behaviour before the consequences kick in
This episode had comprehensive lists on things to watch out for, so as always the full transcript is below but here is a snapshot of the signs of being a workaholic.
What are the signs of being a workaholic?
1. Going to work early every day
2. On your mind before bed
3. Planning everything around work
4. Eat-Shit-Sleep work
5. NOT present with family
6. Thinking about work projects
7. Socially- limited and often linked to work. Or talking about work when in social environment
8. Laptop open at home
9. Checking emails throughout the day
10. Struggle to switch off
11. Phone/Emails on weekend
12. Same on holiday
13. Talk about it with partner constantly
14. Cancel personal and social events – to fit in work
15. Health and exercise gets put on back burner
It is important to note, if a handful of these signs are present in your life then the consequences can be severe. We did not dive into the consequences in this episode, but the question to ask yourself is this:
If I continue this behaviour, what are the consequences of this?
For a full read of the podcast, here is a full transcript of everything Dr Ro and Harms covered in this episode of the Seekardo Podcast.
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Hi, it’s Harm’s here and I am with Dr Ro on another episode of the Seekardo podcast. And today we are talking about another challenging topic and that’s a question and a statement which is, how do I know if I am a workaholic? And if you asked me 12 months ago, two years ago and even sometimes, today. I would have to genuinely raise my hand and say, my name is Harms and I’m a workaholic. I do slightly jest about it, but this can become a genuinely serious issue because it not only affects yourself, for many reasons we will go into those. But doing anything in extremes can have its negative impacts. So, Ro over to you, how do you think we should break this podcast down for our amazing listeners, so we can get a powerful message across to them.
Thanks Harms. This is a great subject, and it’s one I’m glad we have chosen because it is extremely topical at this moment in time in history. And I’ve watched phases of this come and go over the years, and there’s definitely signs. So, as we were talking this through, just ahead of the podcast today. My brain started to think, okay what typically people don’t know what the signs are, or they won’t admit to it. So, I think the first thing we need to look at are the signs. Then I’d like to, if it’s okay with you, start talking about what are the causes of this. What causes this tendency to get into workaholic state, and then how do we deal with it. If we can go through those three things in this podcast it will give people listening a chance to first of all go, “oh my gosh actually, I fall into that category. I kind of get why I’m doing this and thank you I’ve got some tools to go and deal with that.” So, I think we should go through those, and then whilst we are doing it I can interact and share personal stories as well.
Okay Ro, I love that. So, just for listeners at home, we are going to cover three key areas. The signs, what is causing it, and how to deal with it. And when we say “it”, we are talking about being a workaholic. So Ro, I think you should start because you’ve had longer in the planet, and I have an inkling that there may have been times in your life where you was an extreme workaholic. I don’t know if that is true.
Just a little bit. I mean you’ve known me long enough to see me go into those states and I think it’s first of all, if as I’m going through this and Harminder is sharing, and the two of us are expanding on the subject. Don’t beat yourself up. I think with all of the podcasts that we are covering with you, if we are ever talking about a subject that’s sensitive, close to home, making you feel a little resistance when you’re listening to this.
Whether you’re 30,40,50,60,70, or you’re in your teens or 20s and early 30s. It doesn’t matter. There’s no judgement here. It’s about awareness and that’s the whole point of the Seekardo. And the experience here is that we want you to become aware of something and then make a decision, do I want to change that or not? And if I do want to change it. What do I need to do to change it?
So, this is not about judgement, but it is about awareness. And I put both my hands up, and my feet up, and my ears up, if I had hair, I would put my hair up as well. And say, you know what I have been and still am, on occasions, a workaholic. It’s just knowing to read the signs and then knowing how to deal with it. So, I am going to list out and Harminder just jump in when you hear something that resonates for you, because we are two different voices. You are and in many ways, and I’ve said this to you before, that there is a big part of you that is me when I was your age. And I see these patterns, and I laugh and say, oh my gosh I was just like that. So, it will be really interesting to see if some of these that I’m talking about you resonate with.
So, I’m just going to bang through a list of things that I see either when I’m coaching with people, or I observe this in my audiences. If people come up and talk to me, or on a personal level that I’ve observed. And one of the first things is going to work early every single day, or going to your business every single day, getting up early and making a point of being there, just that little bit ahead of everybody else. Not just rocking up maybe 10 minutes before you’re supposed to start but turning up maybe an hour before, or half an hour before to get as much done as you can before the day starts. On the basis that you’re still going to do a full day at work and probably stay later as well. So, that’s one of the first signs.
And if that’s weekends as well, getting up and starting to work on weekends and just being obsessed with getting there, and trying to pack a little bit more into that workday, that’s the first thing. Second thing is, I can tell you this, just a quick personal share. When I was in my civil engineering career you were almost frowned upon if you didn’t come in early. Especially if you were more senior. As I climbed up the corporate ladder. It was expected that I’d be there early, so that when my staff arrived or the people working underneath me arrived, they would see that I’m already there. I’ve set a standard. And this is one of the conversations that I had with my directors, the people above me, “you need to be setting a standard now. We were expecting you to come in and work the extra hours, come in early, leave later.” Of course, I’m aiming to get that next level, so I start to model that behaviour, and that was something I did when I was in that place. But even if you’re running your own business it could be the same thing, it becomes an obsession.
Here is something interesting. When I started to build my business in parallel to being in the workplace. I started to leave on my contracted hours, so I was contracted to be there from, say, 7:30AM to 4:30 PM. When I started to leave at 4:30PM, I started to get the nickname of being a part timer. And I just wanted to put that out there because if you are building a business, or a side hustle, a side business in parallel, you’re just going to have to almost just let that go over your head. Because it can affect you, it did affect me in the early days. You get called a part-timer after 10 years of what you believe is a great service of the company. Your behaviour over the last two months of leaving on time, when you are actually paid to leave, you may get called a part timer. So, just have an eye on the end mission, but yeah that was a real issue for me as well.
Harms, can I just pick up on something. You just used the word “hustle” there. Now my generation, when we hear the word hustle, if somebody is hustling on the side there. It sounds like you’re doing something dodgy, did you just throw that term in because I’ve not heard you use that before.
Ahh interesting, interesting insight actually, because in my generation, the term “hustle” is a positive spin on. And it actually links to the causes, so what is causing being a workaholic. And it’s also the promotion of you should be hustling and hustling. So maybe our generation views that term differently, but for us, it has a business orientation around it. And it’s the fact that you’re going to keep going, you’re going to keep hustling beyond all of the competition. You’re just going to keep hustling in the early hours, late nights. So, I’m going to talk about that in the causes, but it has got a positive spin, but it’s also causing a negative behaviour pattern in my generation.
Okay, so I wouldn’t have used that term back in my day, and anyone listening to this who is my generation, probably wouldn’t have known what you meant there, so that’s great. Thanks for explaining that. So, that was number one. Second thing to me is, it’s on your mind before you go to bed. So, a sign of being a workaholic is, you are already starting to think about the next day. You’re going to bed and you’re thinking about the job and what needs to be done first thing in the morning, instead of going into a nice day of gratitude and being relaxed, and meditating. Actually, your last thoughts are about going to work.
So for me, that was a big one I noticed back when I was in my career, and there are times when, for example, I’m out presenting, and speaking and doing a big event for a group of people, I can go into a workaholic state. By this definition, because actually it’s on my mind before I go to bed, and I’m thinking about how I can best perform the next day, so that consumes me in that moment. Which is not healthy when you’re at home with your family, and you’re wanting to be present with your partner.
And imagine, imagine if you’re in a relationship, and imagine what that does for your sex life, if you’re in a relationship. Just want to throw that one in there, before we move onto the next point.
So, you’re going to bed and you’ve got a picture of your boss in your head and you’re trying to make love to your partner, that doesn’t go down too well does it?
So, the point of us just listing these out initially is to give you an idea of what to look for. Look for the signs, identify them. Third one is planning everything around your work. So, your partner is wanting to plan some with you and the kids, or go away on a break, a weekend away, a long break. “Oh I can’t do that, I’m working that weekend” or “yeah I can’t do that it’s another busy month for me. We got the project due. Well how about we go the following month? Honey we can’t go the following month because you’ve told me those two weekends you are tied up to working as well.” So, pretty much your whole life is planned around your career and your business or your job. Everything else becomes second to that, that’s a very strong sign that you’re in workaholic state. Number four, you eat, for one of a better word, you shit and you sleep work. Sorry to use the crude term there, but honestly I know that feeling, and I’ve seen it in other people. They are working whilst they’re eating. They go to the toilet and it’s on their mind. They sit down and go to the toilet and it’s on their mind. They literally go to bed it’s on their mind. They have a shower and they’re thinking about work, that’s definitely a sign of workaholism. And it’s a dangerous place to be. You can’t just be in the moment you have to be thinking about work. I don’t know if you have ever had that experience yourself.
I have Ro, and here is an example of it happening live. So, imagine you are at work and you’re in your lunch break and you’re eating at your desk. You’re eating in front of your laptop, you’re scrolling your emails or you’re just sitting at your desk, eating lunch. That’s a big sign, that is an example of this happening live.
Yeah and I know, for example, if I’m doing an event and you’ve been with me. If I take a short break to have some lunch which might be 45 minutes, people bombard me, then I’ve got some notes. I’ve got my team at the back giving me some feedback, things I need to be aware of. So actually, I can do that sustainably for three days because it’s three days. But for people that are doing it consistently, when I was doing my engineering professional, you were an engineer as well. You know what it’s like when you’re on site, in the field. There is no break. I mean literally there is supposed to be a break, but there is no break because you’ve contractors, you’ve got other people, you’ve got staff around you. There’s no chance to actually have a break. So, that workaholic nature just becomes endemic, so you go home and you carry it home with you. Weekends you are still wired for five or six days of doing that, same thing, it’s a massive sign. Actually, if you’re in a state of eating, going to the loo, or showering, or sleeping and it’s still on your mind, definitely it’s a sign of workaholism. So, the fifth one there is, not being present with your family, you mentioned it about not making love. But actually, jokes aside, just being at home, your kids are talking to you, you’re checking your phone, your thoughts are still carrying the stress from work. You mentioned in a previous one of our other podcasts, Harminder you talked about the fact that when you became obsessed with your career, and you were working, working.
Sometimes you would go out to the car, you’d get emotional, you’d almost break down into tears, set yourself, and go back into work. Because you had to go back into work. If you carry that home with you, and you’re talking to your loved one, your partner and you’re just not present with them, they’re talking to you but you’re not really listening, that’s a big sign. Because you’re constantly focusing on your work, and a lot of relationships break up as a direct result of that.
And I’ve done a lot of interventions with couples where actually she or he has said to the other person, “for the last two years we sit at home at night and I can’t get through to you. You seem to be so obsessed with your job. Why is it you won’t listen to me?” That’s a dangerous conversation to be having. And if you’re having that already, it means you’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole. With regards to workaholism.
For sure Ro. And I think this is a good time to check in with the listeners at home, which is again, just reiterating what Ro said at the start. This is not a case just to beat yourself up about it, this first part of this podcast is about awareness and we appreciate it. We know that as humans. If you spend eight, nine, 10 hours at work, and you’ve got a four, five-hour window at home with your family, to transition mentally from 10 hours at work to a short period at home with your family is not an easy thing to do. So, we know, we understand that. So, initially we are going to go into how we can sort of help this awareness, but this is purely about awareness at this stage.
It’s a very good point, and actually if you’re listening to this and you’ve got a pen. Make a note of some of these points. But if your partner and you are having these challenges, or you’re aware of it in your partner, or you’re aware of it in yourself, and you’re emotionally developed enough to be listening to this, you might want to actually press pause, rewind and sit down with them and both have a listen.
Without any judgement and say, “actually you know what honey, I realise I’m doing this”, or you say to your partner, “I actually think this is something that you’re doing, listen to what they’re saying here.” Because that awareness is going to allow you to make a shift. Because the worst-case scenario and we haven’t talked about this at all actually here, and it might be worth bringing this up at this point is, if I were coaching all of you right now or Harminder and I were sat down with you face-to-face. One of the questions we would be asking you is, what are the consequences of this? And that’s not something necessarily we are covering specific in this, but I’m going to cover it just briefly now. And that is all of these things I’m listing out, if you carry on this behaviour over the next six, 12,18,24 months, two, three, four years there is a breaking point. Either in you as a human being, or in your relationship with other people. And it is a massive cause of relationship breakups, it’s also a massive cause of health deterioration as well.
So, I want to put an emotional leverage on you here to say, it’s really important. If you’re young and you’re doing it and you might think I’m indestructible, I’m in my 20s, no problem. I’ll be interested to see Harms your thought on this. I can keep going. That is true, but illness takes years to propagate, so cancer, for example, can take 10 to 15 years before it manifests itself physically, but it’s sitting there in your body.
Stress-related illnesses take years to build up and young people will fight it off, but the body at a cellular level can’t. So, ultimately it shows up in your 30s and 40s and 50s. So, I know this seems like a bit of a dark place to take you, but I want to let you know that the reason I think for us sharing this with you, we are doing this because it’s much better you become aware of it now. Manage it and keep yourself healthy and vibrant. Otherwise, the opposite to that is, you end up as one of these people that’s grey ash and fatigued, tired, fed up with your job, fed up with your career, and don’t understand why you’re completely burn out. And there’s a whole state of adrenal burnout, which kicks in when people are workaholic. Have I gone too far here? Have I had a bit of a rant?
You’ve gone on a little bit of a rant, just to remind listeners at home, the end of this podcast will be solution-orientated. We are solution-oriented optimists, but at the start we’ve got to identify the signs. And I think me and Ro have experienced some of these signs, which is why we can openly talk about them.
I have, my hair fell. Don’t laugh Harminder, because you didn’t see me, you’ve only known me since I’ve been bald. But my hair literally started to fall out. Lumps started to form on my body, and part of that was because of these next few which was, not being present with my family at the time with my wife. Thinking about work projects all the time as a civil engineer, this is number six by the way. Constantly thinking about work projects, so it became an obsession. And I got to a point where I couldn’t sleep. I had a lump form on my chest, hair fell out at the same time. My hairdresser said that I seem to be stressed, I denied that, I said I’m not stressed. And the other indicator number seven for me, was my social life became limited to the point where, most of what I did was with work colleagues and also the conversations with people were about work. So, even if I did manage to get out and do something socially with somebody who was outside my workspace, I found myself gravitating back to a conversation about work. I don’t know if this happened to you in your career Harminder, but even at a young age and I notice people are still having those conversations about work, in a social environment.
Yeah it’s very common. And there’s transitions you’re going to go through, especially when they meet your friends and when I meet my friends, there’s occasionally, I’m actually quite lucky. If my friends are listening to this we rarely talk about work, but I have been in other friend circles where the conversation is about promotions, careers, how much you get paid, how much percentage increase I am going to get. Bitching about management, bitching about another colleague maybe who has been winding you up at work, so all of these unhealthy conversations, which you can’t talk about at work, end up getting talked spoken about in your social circles. So, that’s quite challenging. If you think about what that’s doing in terms of giving you a positive vibe of life, anything negative from work, you’re not allowed to talk about it, so you talk about that in your social circles, or at home with your family, or you complain to your wife, or the wife complains to the husband. That’s not healthy and it’s also a sign of being workaholic.
Very true, and what happens is it loses the aspirational element of the conversations you might have with friends. So, for example, I can think about a time when you and I sat driving the Tesla and we were in the car for an hour and a half, and we were just talking about inspirational things in life, and what we were excited about. Had that been a work conversation back in the day, it would have been a very different vibe. And I think that’s the thing to be aware of, that’s probably a sign that we want to just highlight here.
The other one for me, and I know this because even as an entrepreneur this is a habit that I still have, and I have to remind myself to put it away, is when the laptop come homes with you and then you find yourself it’s open on your lap, you’re flicking through your emails and before you know it, an hour, an hour and a half has gone by. And you’ve convince yourself, or the family, “I’m just going to do these couple points and then I’m going to close the laptop.” But actually it’s not just a couple of things, and before you know it, an hour, two hours have zipped by. And that’s eating into your social time at home with the family.
And I can say hands up, I did that last night. So, I know this is in context, we don’t know what time you’re going to listen to this, just imagine yourself when I’m shooting this podcast with Ro, I did this last night with my wife. So, this is a great reminder for me as well, so if you’re listening at home, all of these may not be applicable to you. But maybe one or two maybe, and you may say actually, “I did that yesterday”, or “oh my god I’m doing that right now.” So, yeah that happened to me last night. So, hands up for that. I own up to that one.
Actually, just on that note, you said you’re doing it right now, it might be that someone is listening to this in the background, but they’re actually sat doing something work related as well, at the same time. That’s when you just realise it’s taking over, and here’s the challenge. I actually did it yesterday as well when I got back. But I did it for a short period and then closed the laptop. However, there are times when it does run away with me and I’m aware of it so I can stop it. And the point here is that it isn’t necessary being a workaholic if you do it occasionally, but if it becomes a consistent habit along with all of these other things.
That’s when you know the signs are compounding, it’s not just one thing, but it’s a combination of these things. And you have to say, wait a minute I’ve just realised how much of my own nonwork time, I’m actually taking up still looking at work related issues, or items, or challenges. So, laptop is a big one, which kind of takes me into the next couple. So, number nine for me is, checking emails throughout the day. So, whether it’s, if I see somebody doing it and they’re on their phone. I was at a park just a couple of days ago with my youngest daughter, I saw a guy there literally sat on his phone, and I happen to be sat next to him whilst I was watching my daughter. And she kept running up to me, his son was running up to him but couldn’t get through to the father. “Daddy, daddy, daddy.” “Yeah I’ll be with you in a minute.”
And I looked down, and he was actually just flicking through work-related emails, and this was on a Sunday. So, he was obviously just preparing for the Monday. And I think, well it’s approximate, but 25 to 30 minutes his son was literally just trying to get his attention, but the father, all he was doing was checking the phone, “I’ll be with you in a minute, with you in a minute.” And before you know it half an hour has gone by. And that son’s experience of that moment was, “Daddy was on the phone.” He wasn’t even checking social media he was actually checking emails.
And I remember, I’ve been in those situations. Because for him, if he turns up to work on Monday, without knowing the information he’s going to be frowned upon. So, that’s one of those things that happens, which is again, it’s not healthy. So, I can just fire a quick solution over there, so something I do personally. Because I get emails and WhatsApps all the time is, I will block check my emails. So, I actually won’t check my emails in the morning. I will check my emails around lunchtime, and I’ll check my emails before the end of the day for any urgent replies. So, just blocking that time in to check your emails will lead to a healthier relationship with your email inbox. Otherwise you can live in there, you genuinely can live in your inbox.
Yeah and actually that’s a very good point. There are even ways to group your emails, put rules up to put them in different folders and then you decide which ones you’re going to manage at different times. There’s a whole system of management there actually, it’s very good point. I’m going to group a couple of the next ones together, so I think we are up at 10. So, ten is just simply struggling to switch off, and that is almost a combination of everything above really. It’s just not being able to go home and literally not think about work. It’s almost under the surface and it just comes up in a moment. I don’t know if you’ve physically witnessed that or experienced that on a personal level in the business that you are in at the moment, or in your career. But it is definitely something that is just bubbling underneath the surface. You can’t park it and switch off. It’s always there.
And I think that’s very common, especially with business owners, start-up entrepreneurs, I think that’s very common. I experience it all the time personally. Especially when you’ve got a new project that you’re passionate about. Sometimes it just doesn’t leave your mind, and that is when you need to be aware that, actually I should be able to have a bit more control of my mind, and to switch off from this for a moment. And the way to do that, this is just a bit of a warning maybe, but the way to not switch off is, is to just by intentionally trying to distract yourself. So, typically what would happen then is, you would switch on a Netflix TV series, or an Amazon prime TV series to try to force yourself to think about something else. Me personally, I think that’s quite an unhealthy relationship where you have to distract your own mind from something that’s going on at the moment. There’s a way we can deal with it, I’ll mention that in the solution section. But it will be involved when breaking the pattern, and I think Ro you can really share some wise words on that one.
I think that’s a great point Harms. Let me just sweep through the last few just to make people aware of some of the others. And I’ll combine a couple here as I had two separate ones, but I’m going to combine them together. And that is whilst you’re on weekends and I’m going to add and on holidays, which was the second point. You’re checking your phone and you’re checking your emails. I’ve got a lovely story of a very dear friend of mine who is also a business partner who, when they went on their honeymoon. He literally had to manage his wife’s BlackBerry because she as a lawyer felt she couldn’t be away from the career even on the honeymoon.
Without there possibly being an implication to her missing out on an opportunity, a client that might be passed on to somebody else if she didn’t keep the standard of her responses to a high level or whatever it was. So, you can imagine it, you’re on your honeymoon and your partner is checking their frigging emails and phone. I mean that is a sign that somebody’s in a workaholic state. So, we are joking, but it’s actually a lot more serious than people admit.
And I think because, I don’t know if you agree with this Harms, because you’re of a younger generation, so you might absorb it more. But I think looking as an older person and I look at the younger generation, it’s just an assumed way of life for you guys. Whereas I grew into this lifestyle. As technology came on board, so I find myself wrestling with it a lot more. Whereas correct me if I’m wrong, I think younger people just assume, well that’s the fucking norm, am I correct there?
I think there’s a bit of both. So, I think it depends on your emotional maturity around the situation. So, if I’m sitting with somebody and they are, and I’m having a conversation with them and they reach down to have a look at their phone. Honestly, that winds me up. It does very much annoy me because, I’m thinking I am speaking to you as a person, I’m speaking to you face-to-face, normally we are too busy to have a conversation and now we are having a conversation, and you’re reaching down you’re your mobile phone. So, me and my friends have a rule because we see each other quite rarely the phones go away, the phones leave the table.
So, I think if you are of a certain emotional maturity you need to put that aside. However now, if there is a lack of emotional maturity it’s going to be the case that somebody’s talking to you, and at the same time looking at Instagram, or Facebook, or their WhatsApp message. So, I think yes and no. I think the answer to that is yes and no.
I think there’s a definite increase in the level of consciousness in younger people, but my observation is the majority are still, it’s the fomo, don’t want to miss out, so they’re literally in the phone. And it’s a mix of social media and work all at the same time. So, it’s an interesting observation. The last two points, so one is just talking about work with your partner on a consistent, regular basis. You come back and you kind of need to vent off. So, before you know it, you’ve gone into, “how was your day?”, and you’ve gone “yeah it was okay” and you get into detail. And all of a sudden your partner knows everything about the people at work and what’s going on. So, even in your relationship now, the lines become blurred. I think this is a big one.
And that’s a big one for me Ro. So, imagine you and your partner work in a separate workplace or a separate business entity. So, me and my wife have multiple businesses where we are the directors of the company, so you can imagine the situation there. The conversations sometimes may always revolve around work, so I’ll talk about this in the solution section, I won’t give those partners solution straight away.
I remember that conversation with you, a couple of years ago now on a coaching session.
Absolutely yeah, and you have us some tools to use immediately and it helped. But again, this is about awareness. So, last week we was just getting into bed and I said, so we’ve got developers that work for us, and I said, “Oh has our developer got back to us on that website update?” And she looked at me, and she said, “There’s no way you’re talking about work whilst we are getting into bed.”
And she didn’t have to say that, the look said it all. And I was like, ah yes we are not talking about work now. So, it can creep in, but if both partners are aware of this conversation, which is why I think it’s important if you have a partner, or you have a friend, or somebody you spend a lot of time with, get them to listen to this podcast. Because if you’re both aware of these signs, have an open communication about it, and have a laugh about it as well.
And I know your lovely wife Geena very well, I can just imagine what that look was as well. And she’s got a pair of eyes that are incredible, so she would have just gone right at you. The last thing is simply this, it’s your health and your exercise that you are committed to doing, just doesn’t get done. “I’m going to get healthy, eat properly.” So, diet changes, you feed around your work environment, you grab food on the go. And even when you are eating instead of being grateful, being present with it or even actually making it, you just by stuff in a package. So, now it has been manufactured by somebody else, you’ve got no connection with what you’re eating, especially if you’re not eating healthy, dynamic, raw, or at least green based food where you chop it, and you nurture it, and then you prepare it, and then you’re grateful for it when you eat it. And so, the time to do that, none of that’s done. It’s like, unwrap the package, stick it in my mouth, get on with my work. And for a lot of workaholics they become totally disassociated with what they eat, and when they do eat they’ll tend to overeat. Or they’ll go out for a quote on quote, slap up meal. “We earned it, let’s go for a slap up meal.”
So, they’ll overly eat and of course the alcohol comes with it etcetera. Exercise gets put aside. “I was going to go to the gym, but I’ve got to work through lunch, I was going to go for a run this morning, but I had to go to work early.” They are all the signs and it leads to ultimately, it goes to the backburner, but it little literally lends itself to burning out, because people are not looking after their physical health. That will be my last point really, my last sign.
Amazing. So, Dr Ro shared with us, 14,15 different signs to help you identify if you are a workaholic. And just to close this one off Ro. I can share a personal story of mine which almost summarises a lot of these points, if that’s okay?
Yeah please go ahead.
Okay, so one of the things when I was building my business is a common phrase which always came up in my mind. And bear in mind I was working a full-time job, high-pressure job where I was managing a team of 40 people. And alongside that I was building a property investment company, I was building a digital marketing company. So, you can imagine how much time and energy was spent working. And one of the phrases which often justified for myself which I was saying to myself, to make this all okay and acceptable was, it’s okay because once I get to this certain income figure, or once it’s this size. I will then go to the gym, or I will then spend time my wife.
So, I was placing all of those valuable things that I was doing all of this for at the end. At the end destination. And the way I justified that like I said was, okay in 2- or 3-years’ time, once I’ve done all this work. I can then enjoy the fruits afterwards. And then what I realised is when two or three years came down the line, more opportunities came which I then grabbed, which I then continued to add to my plate. So, what I quickly realised and especially spending some time with you Ro as well is, this is not an end destination. So, things like health, things like spending time with your family.
That’s not an end destination. That has to work in harmony with all of these signs that we spoke about, and we will expand on that. That was my personal share that I wanted to let the listeners know that, yes you can get in that situation, but especially if you’re out there building a business, or a business alongside a job, or a full-time start up, or multiple businesses. The situation is that you are going to be feeling a lot of those signs but remember that the reason you’re doing it for health and your family, do not place that somewhere in the far distant future, which is maybe five, 10 years down the line. Because we have to sometimes be real with ourselves and say, actually, we may not make it to 5, 10 years down the line if we are treating ourselves like we have done in the 14, 15 steps or indicators that Ro gave us, to highlight that you’re a workaholic. So, that’s just a personal share from myself Ro.
That’s beautiful. And you know I mean we could just stop now, at this point in the podcast. Because this is so much, even the observational information for anybody listening to this, that they’ve got even a remote feeling they are doing this, or they’ve got a close friend or partner that’s doing it.
But I do think we need to tackle two other things. And that is what causes it and at least wrap up the pod cast with some key solutions, things they can start to apply. So, do you want to jump in and look at the causes first, do you want me to? How do you want to tackle it?
Well I’ll start with just what I think is the most common cause right now for my generation. Simply put, we are now talking about what is causing that workaholic behaviour. And personally, I think there’s a message going out there in social media, which is hooking a lot of young people. Which is about, now this links to what I spoke about earlier, hustling, hustling hard. Hustle porn, entrepreneurship porn, and that’s all coming from social media. Here is where the disconnect is, we have to remember social media is a way to connect with people, yes, be inspired and, yes, yes, get an aspirational feeling from people.
However, you have to have massive, massive self-awareness on what do we want out of life? Because what they are doing may align with themselves and I think Ro you’re going to cover this, but it may align with who they are as people, but it actually doesn’t align with who you are. Because let me give you two scenarios. It may be that I want to go be a full-time parent, and that’s one of the most amazing things, if that came out of my life I would be living the best life I can possibly imagine.
Whereas for somebody else, they may want to start a company because their mission is to make a billion pound so they can give 50% of the billion pound away to charity in the future. That is their life’s mission. Now if you’re looking at that person on social media and saying, damn they work 14,15,16 hours a day, and I’m going to give you an example.
Elon musk is an example of that. If they’re working that many hours a day. That’s exactly what I need to be doing well, they’re doing that because it aligns with their end goal. But to be a full-time parent working 14, 15 hours a day won’t actually achieve the goal of becoming a full-time parent. So, I think what’s massively important here is, being aware of what you want to have in terms of outcome of your life. But the cause, is the messages that are coming out on social media Ro. That’s a big, big issue at the moment. “Hey, if you want this Ferrari, this Lamborghini, you’re going to have to work 14,15,16 hours a day, because that’s the hustle required to make this happen.” And then people are like, okay, well I only now need four hours sleep, because how can I work 14,15,16 hours a day? I’m just going to have to cut down on my sleeping time, which is deadly for the health So, that’s one of the big causes. That’s the one thing I wanted to get across Ro.
Yeah, and you know what it, it’s something that creeps up on us. I think most causes creep up on us, so we don’t necessarily see it. And often years later, people try and dissect it and say what was the cause?
By having an awareness of this now for those of you listening, hopefully, whether you’re sub 30 or 40,50,60 doesn’t really matter. If you’re in this stage right now, you’ve got to start to look at what the causes are right now. And I think you’ve really nailed something that was not in existence when I was in my 20s and 30s, and that is social media.
It’s everywhere now isn’t it Harminder? It’s literally everywhere, you talked about it in one of our other podcasts, trialling the idea of taking some of the social media apps off your phone. And if anyone hasn’t listened to that particular series, go have a listen to that. That was the series I’m trying to think now, that was on, what was the point I asked?
So, that’s a podcast on mental health.
If you search in the podcast search under the Seekardo podcast, you’ll find a podcast about mental health. Listen to that. That will answer a lot of the social, and we also include some very useful tools which you can implement, which will also help you towards this whole workaholic situation as well.
Very true and I think what you highlighted there, and it’s exactly the same here is, that now you cannot escape a direct comparison with what other people are doing because social media just throws it in our faces. So, I think you’ve raised a really great point. I’m going to take a slightly different approach to it from the psychology of where workaholism comes from. Having been in this field now for so long and I have worked with people who have been workaholics and have gone into relationship meltdowns, health meltdowns.
They’ve actually just physically melted down; I mean nervous breakdowns etcetera. And having been there myself, where I lost a huge amount of weight going through stress of working too many hours, trying to prove myself and also that affected my relationship. Which caused me to get into a situation where then I was dealing with both the stress and relationship, and stress at work. So, there’s just six things I’m just going to go over briefly. And if you listening to this, remember, this is not about judgement, but it is about observation and it is about awareness. So, the first one is simply fear. It’s fear of not appearing to be successful, it’s fear of missing out. Which I think now the younger generation, Harms your generation talk about fomo a lot, fear of missing out.
We just said it was the fear of not succeeding, so same thing really. The fear of missing out, if you’re missing out on something it means you’re not going to experience something. If you’re not going to experience something maybe you’re perceiving yourself as not being successful in that area. Whether it is fun play, work, etcetera. So fear, the ego kicks in, I don’t want to appear to be unsuccessful. So, it’s fear of not appearing to be successful, fear of missing the next level, the next promotion. All of these things the next level, the next promotion, being able to be recognised in a memo at work, possibly getting a next bonus.
All of these types of things, this is all driven by fear. It’s not achieving the thing that you want to achieve or perceiving to be unsuccessful, that’s number one. If you’re feeling any of those things right now and your work is being driven by that, you’re not actually doing the work from a place of passion, desire and wanting to be the best person you can in work and to enjoy your work because it’s fulfilling, you’re actually doing it because it’s driving you from a place of fear. And you don’t want to be in that fearful place. That is a major cause of workaholism, from my observation for most people. Second thing is that there are just gaps in your life. It might be that at home, things aren’t so good. And I know this from my past actually, in previous relationships. Where things weren’t great and I was much more fulfilled working hard because I got recognition, I got a pat on the back. My work colleagues told me you’re doing a really good job Ro fantastic, could you do this as well. I was getting rewarded financially.
So, there are six basic human needs that we will have. And one of those needs is connection. Another need that we have is to prove ourselves and to impress other people to have our ego fulfilled. Another need we have is to have variety, and another need is to have absolute certainty and security.
So, if you’re at home and you’re not getting variety. And you’re at home and you’re in a relationship where they’re not giving you the attention that you need, and you’re at home and you’re not getting a lot of certainty in that relationship, and you’re not sure if it’s going to last. What do you do? You go looking for all those needs somewhere else. And in most of the relationship challenges that I’ve ever worked with Harminder, and I’ve coached, you’ve seen me do this live on stage with people.
I have for sure yeah.
It’s nearly always down to the needs are not being met. And I ask the person, well if you’re not getting these needs met at home in this relationship, where are you getting them met? And often people will go, “I get it from work. At work I get so much recognition, at work I get so much fulfilment.” So, of course, that becomes a workaholic state, because you’re getting addicted to something that is fulfilling your needs. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that, or witnessed it, or experienced it yourself at a younger age. Have you seen that in other people?
So, I’ve seen that with the older generation. Because I used to be a manager of 40+ people. So, the way I would see it was the signs would creep in when people were, they just didn’t want to go home. They were just sort of hanging around. They had done their work, and they were still hanging around at work for another hour or hour and a half. Or finding something extra to do, they would go out of their way to find something extra to do at work, to almost avoid going home. Because of everything you said Ro, so yes I have witnessed it. And if you are a manager, or you’re a leader in your environment look out for these tell-tale signs, because that person needs support of some form. And they potentially are in that box unfortunately of being a workaholic, and maybe they just need to be coached through that situation.
Yeah, and this ultimately leads to a form of mental health which we talked about in one of the other podcasts, and there are ways to deal with that. And one of the key ways is to open up the communication back at home, because if it’s a struggle to go home. You’ll go somewhere else, other people lose themselves in that they become sportaholics, footballholics.
They go and watch every football game; they turn on the TV and talk to their mates about it and that becomes their outlet. For others it’s work, and this is where workaholism kicks in as well, because now you’re afraid of not getting to a certain level in work, things aren’t so good at home, so it makes more sense to use an argument at home, “I’ve got to be in work and get the next promotion.” And it becomes an ongoing cycle, it’s called a double bind, you just get locked in it and keep going round and round. And that leads to another cause which is a delusional belief that it’s just for now. And I know this because I’ve has this conversation, “honey it’s just for now, if we can just get this project over the line.”
Even in the property world when I started off in the early days it was, “if we can just get these next two properties over the line. It will be different because this is going to produce this much cashflow, if it’s in work, if I can just get this project finished I’m going to get a promotion, that’s going to bring us another £2000 per month. And guess what, we can move into that bigger house we wanted. Or we can have that holiday we wanted.” And of course when you get to the bigger house, the mortgage goes up and then the next story is, “honey we’ve got a bigger mortgage so, I’ve got an opportunity to earn more money, they’re going to give me a promotion if I just do this.” And it just becomes “just for now.” But it never is just for now, it’s just an ongoing, I’m going into a rant I can hear.
I love that. But that “just for now” Ro, that actually links directly with the story and the situation I gave the podcast listeners about 10 minutes ago. That’s that exact situation. So, I justified it with, you’ve described it a lot better for me now which is, it’s just for now, let’s just work hard just for now, because then in two, three years’ time it will all be good. But then two, three years’ time comes, my situation was different in terms of, we didn’t have higher expenses. My situation was okay, now we’ve done so great, we’ve got more opportunities. So, we go grab more opportunities and then it’s just for now, let’s grab this opportunity because this will be the result of that, and that cycle of “just for now”, that’s another great way to describe my situation that I explained earlier in the podcast.
Yeah, and it’s a great way to buffer and move away from a problem at home. So, when the argument comes up, “you’re working so many hours but it’s just for now.” But that just for now could be a one-year conversation that finally blows up. So, it is a powerful place to be if you understand it, meaning it’s a powerful place to be in terms of your awareness. If you’re aware of it now you can make some changes.
And I think the question Ro to ask directly, if that phrase comes up in your life. Whether your partner asks you the question, or you ask it as a self-reflective question is, okay, just for now, but how long is just for now?
Very good. Great coaching question.
So, we talked about fomo, fear of success. We’ve talked about the gaps in other words, your basic needs are not being met and that could be in several different places. Tied to that was number three, which was issues at home, relationships at home so you lose yourself in your work. Fourth one is delusional belief that it is just for now.
The fifth one is, “but that’s just what people do”, so you make an argument to yourself that everyone else is working. But I mean, like you said, if I leave at 4.30PM, I’m a part-timer. Other people are working till 5.30PM, “that’s what people do, I need to work till .530PM.” So, it just becomes a social myth and you’ve talked in the previous podcast about ‘Sapiens’ and when he wrote the book ‘Sapiens’, he talked about social myths. We create a myth and it becomes a truth, “that’s what people do”, it’s a myth.
That’s not what everybody does. I know that from my own life. And yes, that’s what people did in my career, but that’s not necessarily what you have to do. So, be careful of these myths that we create in order to justify the workaholic state, which then creates relationship problems and then years later after the divorce, and your talking to your kids and you make up some bullshit story about this is what happened.
No, that’s not what happened. The truth is, you told yourself a lie, or somebody told you a lie and you bought into that lie. And there is another rant, but anyway.
And I might just add to that rant because my generation, we will feel and hear those myths from their parents. So, if we are entering the workplace in the first 5,6 years it’s work hard, work hard, work hard, work hard and put the hours in, do the overtime. Go for those promotions, because that’s what people do in order to be successful. So, it just doesn’t come from relationships, it also comes from a parent to a child relationship as well. And then that child when they grow up they do the same thing to their kids, because that’s what they believe what people do.
Exactly. And you see it’s rolling off your tongue because actually it’s a hypnotic statement. In language, there are certain things called hypnotic statements. And when you make a statement like, that’s what people do”, it’s an assumed truth. When it becomes an assumed truth we just do it anyway, and it’s unconsciously becomes a true, a myth. You’re even struggling to find another way to say the sentence because that’s what people do. It’s fascinating and it becomes, it’s right in our souls it really is. And that kind of leads me to the last one, which is really, that’s what people do because, the six one is they have a lack of purpose, so there’s no hypnotic sentence. Their lack of purpose, meaning they don’t really know what their life is about.
So, “I’ll just work hard in my job. That gives me a sense of purpose and also means I can earn more money and if I can earn more money, I can go on holiday. So, although I don’t have a purpose in my life, next year is going to be an amazing holiday for two weeks. We’ve been given two weeks in the summer and then if I do that it’s to be great, go somewhere nice and I’ll feel important. I’ll come back be rested, and I need the rest in my holiday because I’ve got to get back to work, because that’s what people do, get back into my job.” And it becomes a cycle.
No one has actually stopped to wake up and decide I’m on purpose today. They just woke up. They’ve woken up that day to pay the bills, and to do a good job, because that’s what people do. That’s my last cause.
That is fantastic. So, to summarise what we’ve covered so far is, number one with signs of being a workaholic. Number two, what is causing this behaviour of being a workaholic. And now, as promised, as optimists and solution finders. We are going to leave you with point number three is, how to deal with it? And that’s all going to be solution orientated.
So, if you beat yourself up to this point. Don’t worry, there is a way to change this pattern. So, I think Ro the best way to do this also for being sensible on time for the listeners listening to this. If you roll down with any solutions that you have, and I will jump in with mine. And if any of my experiences are worth if I think I can expand on a point that way we tackle the solutions together. And then we will leave them some action points.
Okay I’m going to go through four things here, and then my action point will also involve a solution as well. So, the first thing is take the time to re-evaluate who you are and in order to do that you need to look at three things. And this might sound a bit deep, but you’re here in a podcast with us, you’ve come this far down the rabbit hole and I’m assuming that you’re in a place where you want to do this.
This is not about your work. So, the distinction here Harminder I’m trying to get across, and you’ve heard me say this many times it’s not, what do you do? Which is how most people meet, “hi my name is Ro, nice to meet you Harminder what do you do?” That’s typically, how socially people greet each other.
This is a question on who are you? And that means asking yourself the question, number one what do you believe in? What do you believe in about yourself as a person and your work life balance, you as a human being? What do you believe about how you show up, how you want to show up, and what do you believe about how you want your work to be in harmony with your other life, the rest of your life? In other words, it’s not just your life.
So, beliefs around work, work life balance, and who you are as a person. Tied into that is, your values, what do you value? And an easy way to remember that is, what you want to feel more of?
So, for example, a value I have is health, so I value health. So, that means I want to feel more healthy. I also value connection with my family. I also value having valued time with my family.
So, for me I value time with family. I value health, I value love and connection with the family, also value a sense of excitement. Now none of that really ties into being in a job, so what I’m asking you to do here is, what are your top values? If you can list your top five values and really be clear on them, then the question to ask yourself is, are those values aligned with what I’m doing in my job? And actually, am I getting those fulfilled in the workplace? And nine times out of ten, you’re not.
So, start thinking about what you value most, what you believe in. And finally, just tied into who you are, and this is all under the first point by the way, is purpose. How do you want your life to be? What is the purpose to your life? Have you looked into the future? How do you really want your life to show up? What role do you want to have in the world? How do you want to serve your family? How do you want to serve society? How do you want to be as an employee or as an entrepreneur?
So, your purpose can be an overall purpose, but it has to be broken down into specific areas as well, but for now just have a play with this. What will be your overall purpose in your life?
Remember in order to get a solution to being a workaholic. We have to first of all understand who we are, how we want to show up in the world. How we want our sense of purpose to be, and then we ask the question, hold on a minute, this is the picture of how I want to be, and I look at the picture of how I am right now, and the two are completely different. And then we have to bridge that gap. Is this making sense Harminder?
That makes total sense Ro, and it’s a fantastic activity to do. And I’ve done it on multiple occasions. And just for listeners listening at home. If you haven’t had the time to process this, because this is the first time you’ve heard about such a solution orientated experience.
We will put those on the show notes on growthtribes.com/podcast, we will put these questions, we will put these points. Even the signs associated to being a workaholic we will put those on the show notes, so you can have a reference point. And this is a good time for me Ro to talk about my solution orientated…
Can I just add a couple more things on that. So, the first one is really understanding who you are. And I’m glad these are listed out because I’m going through them quite quickly here.
Second one is to go out into the future. So, take a walk into the future. Just you and yourself, for the next 10 to 15 years. And if you really want to play this game hard with yourself, really want to go to the full extreme.
Take a journey as though you carry on doing what you’re doing, and just write down a paragraph of how that’s going to look if you carry on doing this level of workaholism, and how it’s going to affect your health, your family, your relationships, your finances. Your personal, emotional state, mental health.
And then do a separate description of how you really want it to be in the future. Really genuinely how you want that to look in the future. How you want your life to look, how you want it to feel, how you want to show up. And describe that on paper and then compare the two, and it’s only by doing the comparison can you start to re-evaluate what steps you need to change that pattern. And that’s the last and the third point is, stop repeating the same patterns. That’s the third point I want to do. So, if you’re doing something right now.
For example, Harminder talked about going to bed and having a conversation before you go to bed with your partner about work, maybe choose to stop one habit each day. So, tomorrow could be, “I’m not going to think about, talk about, or even consider work before I go to bed, and I’ll try that for the next week. And the following week I’m going to change that, then the following week what I’m going to do is, I’m going to actually eat my dinner and just meditate.
Or I’m going to talk to my family about personal things, or I’m just going to contemplate how amazing life is, but I’m not going to think about work.” Start breaking the patterns of workaholism, step-by-step. And the way to do that is to look at each of the signs that we talked about, pick a sign that’s presented itself in your life right now and go, “right I’m going to stop this habit this week, and then the following week I’ll stop the next habit.”
And if you start chipping away before you know it you’ll start to act and fill that space with a different mindset. And they’re the three things from my perspective that I think would work really well if I was coaching you directly.
I love that Ro. So, that’s a great sort of coaching model and an exercise that will take them through and again, that will be on the show notes at the end of the podcast episode, that will be on growthtribes.com/podcast.
To add to that amazing, experiential exercises you can go through that Ro has described there. I wanted to link it back to just bringing some awareness on why you started to do what you do.
So, some awareness around why are you working so hard in the first place? Because ultimately if it’s that this will fit into two buckets. Is it for the money? Is it for the recognition? Is it for the pat on the back? Is it for the fame either publicly or internally within your workspace? Or is it from a place of passion, joy, excitement, fulfilment, because those are potentially better reasons to dedicate time to work.
And ultimately all of those things that I’ve just described there the reason we potentially do this, and you have to look at this for yourself, hence the self-awareness element is because we want a better or greater life for ourselves and our family.
So, if we want a better life for ourselves and our family that also involves us to be there with our family members. Because what would they rather? Because you have to ask yourself, what would your wife, your husband, your children rather experience you like? Would they rather experience you at work for 10 hours, or would they rather you’re there with them spending time with them having laughs, sharing stories, creating memories?
So, ask yourself why you are spending all this time at work in the first place, that will start to unlock the awareness within yourself. Ro spoke about the second point, the second point I want to cover with you guys is breaking the pattern.
So, I will just share a personal example is, I am very much aware that I can be drawn into and I hit a lot of those signs that Ro spoke about at the start of the podcast. I hit a lot of those signs, but I’m now aware of them, so I do things that break the pattern. I do one thing which is I take a day out into nature, so me and my wife will literally go and walk into nature, or when I feel things are getting out of control. I will do something which is more larger.
So, this year I booked myself into a 10-day silent retreat just in order to break the pattern of this desire to want to work constantly. And sometimes it can be uncontrollable, but because aware of it I can implement a solution. And thirdly, this is something Ro shared with me and my wife many years ago now during a coaching session, which was create some boundaries in the house. Especially even if you’re both in full-time jobs, or you’re in a business, or you are a couple within the same business.
This is very common in terms of property investing. If that is your situation, create some boundaries within the house. So, we’ve got an office space and if we step out of the office space we can no longer officially talk about work. If we step into the dining room area, we can officially no longer just talk about work. If we are in the bedroom area there’s only certain topics we can talk about and one of those is not work. So, create a work boundary where you have these conversations around work, around business, around futures or projects, that what’s happening. So, for us, in my relationship that is our office space. For you, it may be around the dining room table before dinner, once dinner starts that’s it, the work conversation stops. So, those are some solutions I found, some practical solutions I found. One is about self-awareness, but there’s also practical things you can do.
Sorry just to jump in, what I love here is that you’re not just sharing new insights but you’re taking some of the stuff you’ve learned from the past, and you’re adding it in here. And I think anyone listening to this, even if you just took one or two of these points, one or two of mine. There are already enough tools here to start to break the habits that you’ve been doing, and you will notice a difference. But you have to put the work in behind it. It has to be a conscious process rather than just, “I’ll give it a go.”
Yeah and I think definitely get your partner on board with this. If you’re listening to this alone, and you feel that your partner is a workaholic. Or, you know you’re the workaholic just say to them, “let’s listen to this podcast together because I would love to make some changes in our relationship. I’ve sort of hit a lot of these signs that I’m a workaholic, but I want things to change.” And just do one thing at a time, make the change, one step at time.
Absolutely, I think just to wrap this up then, because there’s already a lot of great content. And we have almost given them actions to do here, if someone is listening to this and they’re like, “where do I start?” I’d like to suggest one action if that’s okay with you Harms. Maybe you can do something similar, so at least they’ve got one thing to take away and they can always review back, and then add to that with the other actions we’ve talked about. So, can I jump in with mine first?
So, I think going back over to what I’ve just suggested, here’s what I recommend you do. Block a day off work. Now this might be a challenge if you’re a workaholic, you could do it on a weekend, but sometimes consciously taking a day away from work means that you value that day rather than, “oh I’ll just fit this into a weekend.” It’ your call, I can’t tell you what to do, but that’s my experience is that, added a different value to it.
So, take a day out and go away somewhere if you can, for example, if it is a weekday. Leave work on the first day and then go to wherever this location is and book into a hotel somewhere where you can just be on your own. Ideally, away from the family, away from your partner. Somewhere in nature, somewhere where there are mountains, the ocean, rolling hills, woods, where you can walk, and you can connect. You need to take with you a journal, you need to take with you pens, and you need to take with you a conscious state of mind. And when you get there, just spend that day reflecting, you don’t have to be in silence.
For example, like the silent retreat that Harms is talking about, but you do need to be in silence with yourself to be able to talk to that space. And ask yourself the question and write this down, how do you really want a typical day, a week, and a year to look in the future? How do you want it to feel? How do you want it to sound? How do you want to look? How do you want people to treat you? How do you want feelings inside you to be when you go to bed at night, when you wake up during the course of the day, when you’re eating your food? Literally describe in detail exactly how you want each moment, each experience to be. You can do a typical work week.
A typical experience with your family, but it has to include a combination of the integration of work and life. It can’t just be how I want my work to be, because that is just one element of it. And then whilst you’re in that day, take half an hour to an hour to sit down and compare that description against how your life is today. And once you’ve made that comparison than the last thing is, make a decision. And the decision is, I’m going to make a change and start to decide which parts of your current lifestyle need to change in order to move, just one step to start with closer to that vision that you’ve put in your journal. And that’s the only suggestion I’ve got at this stage.
I love the action point Ro. And just for listeners listening at home, I’ve done that myself. I do that on regular occasions. Sometimes if I’ve been working away on certain weekends. The following weekend is blocked out no mobile phones, no work is getting done, no work should be getting done, I’m away from the laptop walking in nature.
Whether that’s half a day, the whole day. You’ve got to work on what’s right for you, so I love that action point Ro, thanks for sharing that with the listeners. My action point would be reward yourself for the things that you are working hard for. So, what I’m linking this to is, the reason we go to work typically, and this will be different for everybody, but typically we go to work because we want to have a great family life at home, and we want to provide amazing value for our family at home. So, when you are building, you’re working hard as a workaholic, you’re working hard, okay that’s one thing.
But we want to change that pattern.
So, the way we can change that pattern is by rewarding yourself at certain checkpoints, but the reward has to be done with the very people you are working hard for. Hopefully that makes sense and I’ll just repeat, summarise that again. So, as an example, you could reward yourself by you and your whole family having a day or day trip to the cinema, or half a day to the cinema where you’re going to enjoy lunch together. You’re going to watch a movie together, no mobile phones. Because you’re rewarding yourself by spending time with your family and that’s a great reward for that hard week you did at work.
Rather than going into the weekend of an evening and continue to work, break the pattern by incentivising yourself and rewarding yourself for all that great work you’re actually doing. But rewarding yourself with the very reason you are spending all that time at work, does that make sense Ro?
Yeah I think, just going back over that last point, that with all these things is you’re simplifying it. And I think that’s important, don’t forget, for the listeners don’t overcomplicate this. Just go with the flow and if what Harminder is suggesting is the way for you to do this, go there first and then come to mine. But the key thing here is to simplify this whole process. Don’t overcomplicate it, and the idea of rewarding yourself is very important. My experience is, particularly having children. If your children misbehave and then you have a conversation with them about improving their behaviour, but at the same time on the back of that bad behaviour you give them a reward they associate the reward with bad behaviour. So, for me on a personal level I’ve always learnt to reward good behaviour and just not reward any bad behaviour at all. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you, but you haven’t got kids yet. But it’s certainly something I’ve discovered over the years, and we used to give our kids certain things and then realise it was too close to when they did something that maybe they should have done better. So, as people we need to understand how to reward ourselves in association with doing things that are working for us, have I made that clear?
That is clear Ro. So, it’s the same scenario to what I’m saying is reward yourself as a person, as an adult for spending time with your family, because that’s the exact reason you are working all those hours for. That will then encourage you to make you look forward to switching off the phone, clearing out the inbox, just staying away from work outside work hours, including businesses. This applies to business as well. Lock off that time, reward yourself for all those hours you put into the business, because that’s the reason we do it in the first place.
Harms just very quickly, give them an example of rewarding yourself. Because everyone’s definition of reward can be different, so I think it’s important to explain the meaning of that reward. I mean how for example would you reward yourself so that it was meaningful, but not necessarily overly expensive. Because somebody might go, “oh right, I’m going to treat myself to something really huge right now,” as a result of that.
Absolutely, so think about it on a spectrum, so I think have a blend in a year. Again simplifying, have a blend. So, here is an example of something small, something small is, we are going into a park in the city and I’m buying my whole family ice creams.That’s a really simple reward. Something medium is, I’m taking my whole family to the cinema we are going to do a vote on what movie everybody wants to see, and we are going to go there, then go to a restaurant after the movie. And we are just going to really enjoy that time together. Something which is more expensive, maybe I am booking a spa day for myself, or I’m booking a spa day for myself and my partner. Or I’m going to take care of the kids and my partner is going to get booked into a spa day. Whatever you prefer, go and book a spa day for two days. Go stay overnight in a hotel, so that’s something which is very cost-effective, something which maybe would cost you £50, and something which may be cost you a couple hundred pounds to book yourself into a spa.
Nice and the point is they’re meaningful to you, to the individual because you’ve set that as a target, as a reward to yourself. Great, I love that, that’s fantastic. I think great subject that we have chosen and again, thank you for bringing me to the table on this one, and asking me these questions because it’s provoked a lot of conversation between the two of us.
For sure, and I think we are the exact right people to talk about this topic because we’ve faced these challenges you know. So, those listening at home we’ve faced these challenges quite often, but one thing we are very much is aware of them, and that’s why we can share these golden nuggets with you guys listening at home. So, on that note, that is me and Dr Ro signing out. Don’t forget to check out the show notes at growthtribes.com/podcast. We look forward to sharing more amazing wisdom from two different generations at the next episode of the Seekardo podcast.
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