So you're not up at 5am to work? What's wrong with you? Nothing
*This article was first published on my LinkedIn profile in 2014 and captured over 500k views.
I cringe everytime I read a story about a person who starts their day at 4am, after surviving on only 5 hours sleep, to get up and start yet another highly productive day. They've written their first client brief before their 'all greens' smoothie and done a mini-triathlon by 7am.
After a quick shower, they ride 10kms to their work and 'start' their day by reading all their newspapers in an allocated 30 minute slot. Then it's the team meet up before a full one day of meetings, workshops, team time outs and a session at the gym topped off with a protein shake. It goes on. You get the drift.
By the time I also learn they have their two, five and ten year plan mapped out, I am weeping.
Despite all the goal-setting, uber-productive lifehacks and high octane 'get the life you want' advice, I just feel like a lazy, under-achieving recluse. Comparison is complete farce.
When I speak to others, I find a hidden group, too 'out-goaled' to mention that they too aren't springing out of bed ready to take on the world. Instead, they're going at their own silent pace.
When did we all make it right that you had to literally run through your life, working your butt off but keeping this air of deadly happiness as you dedicate your life to work?
And what about the rest of us? Who don't catapult to the desk each day? Who never have nor will have the desire to change?
Where are the articles about the creative nightowls who then sleep through late into the morning and don't reach their inboxes until after lunch?
Why aren't there more tips about how to squeeze eight hours into five leaving plenty of time to just be; with children, with nature, with oneself?
I can tick the important boxes usually. The ones where you need to be organised, self-motivated and able to work with others (I have no choice I'm a freelance and if I couldn't do that I'd never eat). But I've never wanted to be the sports star as well as a work guru and be able get more and more out of everyday. I'm exhausted by thinking about it.
So for all the rest of us, who stay out of the rain and cold for the comfort of it, hit the alarm a few times before hauling ourselves out of bed and having to sometimes just sit and look out of the window in order to get that next spark for the task ahead, I write this for you.
I write it to celebrate your considered and thoughtful stride towards greatness. It's in acknowledgement that there is another way; one which considers that we are here to live first and work second. I tip my hat to those who have designed a life which brings balance to all things important and lends time to the fact that we are all individuals learning to do what supports us and nourishes us through from birth until death.
Design a life that suits what you need. Don't be guilted into doing what the media or the internet tells you is the 'right thing'. Run your own race. Do the things you love, with the people you want to spend time with. Take a moment to reflect, to pause and to smell the roses. You're not lazy like the articles say. You're just taking it at a different speed.
Somewhere in your day set aside time to fulfil something that nourishes your working life. It can either be directly related to your work or something entirely different which captures your imagination and makes you feel, simply, 'good'.
It's tried and true advice and it comes presented in different guises. But it means the same thing.
It means that you invest, daily, in something that is important to you.
And let there be more articles that celebrate the contemplative pace that many of us enjoy mainly because that is how we roll; 'Us', the other type of contributors to this earth.
So, my message? Be your own wonderful creature. Create a life for yourself. Enjoy your moments the way you see fit. Step away from the screen, the desk and the pressure.