The Toxicity of a Workaholic

By May 13, 2016 No Comments

A son walks up to his dad and asks, “Dad, can you come play with me?” The dad has two choices, drop what he’s doing and go play, or tell his son he’s busy and will try to later after he’s done working. Imagine a mother of two packing for family vacation. While packing she begins to go through her work materials, deciding which work she’ll bring on the trip. Now picture her kids’ reactions when she says she can’t play on the beach today, because she’s got to get some work done.

Believe it or not, being a workaholic is a real thing. Many people cannot host a party, watch a movie, or just have a relaxing afternoon with family. While their work ethic is admirable, this form of workaholism is poisonous. In last week’s blog, we discussed workaholic Georgia Tech Coach Josh Pastner, and his outrageous demands for assistant coaches.

Being a workaholic leads to problems in all areas of life. What good is achieving the highest levels of success if you have no one to share it with? This week we’re going to discuss how to create balance in your life in order to avoid becoming a workaholic.

The first key to achieving balance is to become physically fit. And it starts with food. You are what you eat. You can eat all the crap you want and work out, but your body won’t perform at it’s best unless you feed it a proper diet. I highly recommend checking out Dr. Mark Hyman for his diet and nutrition plans. When you’re physically fit you will have more energy. Being a leader requires you to have and give energy to others. It’s easy to get sidetracked, too busy, and not workout; but you must schedule this time in if you want to be at your best and effectively lead.

When you’re physically weak your immune system is run down and it begins to affect all areas of your life. All of our relationships and interactions suffer as a result of our low energy and poor health. Once we make the decision to eat properly and exercise regularly our moods become more positive. Thus, all of our interactions are more positive. It all works together.

Secondly, we must guard our mental and moral condition in order to achieve balance. Do you intentionally choose what goes into your head? Or do you just turn on the tv and radio for background noise? Do you read things that are positive and uplifting? If not, start today. We choose what goes into our brains. Don’t allow the pressures of society, and what you think others think is cool to influence what goes into your mind.

“I strongly believe a good leader has the correct priorities and seeks good balance.” ~Coach John Wooden

What we read, watch, and listen to is extremely important. I quit watching the local and cable new shows. It serves no purpose. It’s all negative. It’s propaganda at it’s best. I’m not missing out at all because I get news updates on my phone. I choose what newspaper articles to read, and all without the advertising and negativity of television news.

Who do you surround yourself with? Are they people who encourage and inspire you? Do they have similar values? Again, you are who you associate with. Our mental and moral condition frame our outlook on life. Is your world one full of positivity and possibility, or is it one of doom and gloom? You and only you have the power to decide.

In order to achieve balance one must get priorities in line. It’s helpful to go back to your why. Why do you work? Who do your work for? If it’s for your family and for them to have a better life; don’t forget to spend and enjoy time with them. What’s the point of earning a living if you forget to live with your family?

It’s also important to make time for yourself. You have to meet your needs first so you’re able to then meet the needs of others. I feel better when I work out consistently. I make it a priority to work out five days a week. This requires flexibility, but I am a happier person and more able to serve others fully if I’m able to work out consistently.

One must also be aware of what season in life they are in. For example, I recently made a decision to not coach football next season. I have two young sons, and a wife who’s very successful in her career. I need to focus more of my time and energy at home since I am gone so much during basketball season. I will also be ramping up my writing and speaking efforts as well.  It’s all about knowing the time and place in your life. I need to have a balance in my life because I don’t want to lose what is most important. I don’t want to be that burnt out coach who realizes his errors only after he’s lost his family.

Many successful people in business will stress hard work success requires. It’s the truth. There’s no way around hard work. More and more Americans are becoming burnt out on work, only after losing the most valuable things in life: relationships.

Like many of you, I want more money with less bills. I’m willing to work hard for it, but not at the expense of my family.

I challenge you to find the appropriate balance that works in your life so you don’t become another workaholic.

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!


Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.