When I started working for myself just over 5 years ago, one of my main drivers was freedom. Freedom to set my own hours, get up late if I wanted, have holidays whenever I fancied.
The reality was that for a long time I worked all… the… time…
If I wasn’t working I’d be talking about work, thinking about work, constantly on my phone checking emails, hoping there would be one for me to respond to!
On the rare occasion that I did take a holiday, I’d make sure I’d have my laptop with me so I could react to any “emergency” that arose. (Note – I wasn’t a heart surgeon. I was an IT consultant at the time.)
If I had a boss expecting me to work 60-70 hour weeks, you can be sure I’d be bitching about them while simultaneously figuring out a way to leave.
So why was I being my own worst boss and putting up with it?
I told myself I loved what I did so it didn’t feel like work.
I told myself I thrived on the stress.
I told myself I was important and that people needed me.
I FELT like a worthwhile human being, but only for as long as I was on the treadmill.
The moment I stepped off, I felt GUILTY, LAZY and POINTLESS.
So, the real reason I was working myself to death was to avoid feeling bad. I’d rather burn-out than face the truth that work was a coping strategy, an addiction.
AS LONG AS I WAS ATTACHING MY SELF-WORTH TO MY WORK, I WOULD NEVER BE FREE.
This year I’ve faced up to the painful emotions I was hiding from. I can only describe worthlessness as URGH! It’s like a black tar that fills my whole body and suffocates me. It’s disgusting, and I hated going there. I was ashamed of the things I believed when I was in there.
Facing it was the only way for me to break the addiction.
I’ve since realised that I’m here to enjoy my life, and work is part of that but it’s not everything. Before I help anyone else I need to fulfil my own needs. My connection to myself, my growth, my health and my relationships are so much more important than my work.
My focus is on doing work that I enjoy, that really fulfils me. I’m no longer driven by the fear that I have to do to justify my existence.
I’ve let go of a ton of guilt and I’m well on my way to feeling free.
If this has resonated with you and you have no clue where to start, book a call with me. Let’s start a conversation about how you can build some freedom into your life and let go of that guilt too. You are totally worth it!