The "Work Harder" Lies.
“You must not be working hard enough.”
“You must not want it bad enough.”
“Sink or swim. I will be here when you’re drowning and desperate.” (Run far, far away from anyone like this!)
What we hear: “It’s all your fault. You aren’t trying hard enough. Your burning, painful desire for different isn’t enough. Period. Next!”
Oh, mamas. This rhetoric breaks my heart. While it’s true for some and does need to be stated at times, it is not true for every person or every situation. In fact, for some of us this is downright dangerous. I’ve experienced it as a corporate/public service mom, a network marketer, and a business owner. I have chained myself to my desk for weeks at a time with zero results to show for it.
Struggling corporate mamas, I know you. You work hard. You probably are not a stranger to working harder. You might constantly burn the candle at both ends. You want it so. effing. badly. The successful career that plays well with family. A happy family. Enough money to feel safe and secure. Freedom to be you every once in a while. You have some kind of “it” that seems elusive.
If working harder.and harder.and harder fixed the chaos, you would have whipped everything into shape years ago, right mamas? You would not remain in a cesspool of burnout. Everything would be fixed by now - or quickly after implementing “work harder.”
At the very least, you would be able to take a breath without feeling like everything will fall apart around you.
It isn’t that you’re not trying. You are trying. You have been trying. Maybe you’ve given up because you tried for so long that you just can’t do it anymore.
That isn’t not caring. That isn’t not working hard enough. That isn’t not wanting it badly enough.
That’s doing what so many tell you to do: pushing it into overdrive because it’s supposed to work and you don’t understand why it isn’t working for you. It’s following a movement that is keeping you stuck and perpetuating a cycle you don’t want.
Here’s the thing. I see you. I hear you. I know you. I was you. Fact? Some days I still am. Life ebbs and flows. This isn’t something that we lock in and coast through for life. What’s different for me now are both my foundation and the tools in my toolbox. I know how to use them effectively and when to try something else.
I’m not going to close this out with a sales pitch. Nor am I going to tell you that you have to work with me to straighten out your life. We are bombarded with messages of “you have to do this!” and even I’m exhausted by it. I’m majorly detoxing from social media and my inboxes right now. All of it became too much. (Side note: Detoxing means I’m not reading social media messages daily. I know there are a few that I need to answer soon! So don’t read too much into this if you reached out recently and I haven’t answered yet. It’s not you. It’s me. Ha!)
Just know that working harder isn’t the answer if that’s what you’ve been doing. It’s okay to take a breath. It’s okay to re-evaluate. It’s okay to unfollow anyone who keeps telling you that you aren’t good enough. You are good enough. You are enough. It’s not about changing who you are. It’s about shifting perspective, finding different tools, and seeing how you transform because you’re finally giving yourself permission to be you and rearrange/release the chaos as much as possible.
So what can you do for you today? Maybe it’s going to bed at a decent hour tonight. Or doing a five minute sun salutation. Perhaps it’s turning off your work phone as you leave the office. Do one thing to honor yourself and stop the “I have to work harder!” cycle tonight.
Taking your life back begins with taking yourself back.
One step at a time.