The W in G.R.O.W.: Winning your career and life can often feel like a maze, especially for high-performing leaders with a drive to succeed. There’s a finish line around here somewhere, but we can’t always recognize which turn gets us to the exit and which is a dead end. And unless you can see the big picture, it might be hard to get it right. 

That’s why it’s so important to know what your big picture is. Put another way, what does winning look like to you? Is it success in your career at any cost? Sometimes, when we’re in hot pursuit of that next promotion, we sabotage our personal lives – sacrifice relationships, physical well-being, and mental health. 

Ultimately, that lack of balance will negatively impact our work in the end anyway. So, let’s try to get it right before that happens. 

What Does It Mean To Win?

I could tell you what winning means to me, but you probably have a different definition. It’s a deeply personal matter because we all have unique goals, skills, dreams, visions, and values. But if you take a moment to close your eyes and picture a bountiful life in which all your wants and needs are met: what does that look like? 

That’s winning. 

It might be a seat at the table or the corner office. It might be financial security, an invitation to deliver your first TED talk, or the cover of a trade magazine. For others, it’s finally earning enough to comfortably provide for their family. 

But that’s all just about work. What else do you want? Add on wants like dream homes, bucket-list vacations, and charitable giving in dollars or hours. For example, holding on to that loving family and having enough time to spend with them. What about hobbies, fitness, and friendship? Would you want to give that all up on the altar of your career? 

Redefining Winning 

Once you fix the bigger picture that encompasses a fulfilled and healthy life in your mind, you’ll have to confront any obstacles standing in your way. There are external challenges like those shoulds and the expectations of others we discussed last week. Also, there are internal challenges like fear and self-limiting beliefs. Perhaps we have to let go of an outdated definition of winning that no longer serves us.

Here’s another pervasive internal obstacle that I often hear, and I encourage you to release. The belief that to be successful, we must constantly hustle. Always be selling, never taking a break, endlessly striving for more, often at the expense of our relationships and well-being. 

In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month, I invite you to challenge that narrative. I urge you to prioritize joy and fulfillment as much as you do your work and career. However, along the way, you may encounter common barriers like the fear of disappointing others and the need to set boundaries.

Many of us are conditioned to feel uneasy about saying no. However, you possess the best understanding of your limits, bandwidth, and capacity. Trust in this knowledge and be confident in utilizing it to decline unnecessary or out-of-scope commitments. By doing so, you’ll create valuable space in your life for the things that truly matter.

My Story 

I wouldn’t ask you to do something I’m not doing myself. If you’ve been following along the past few weeks, you already know I was feeling the pressure of my growing business. As a result, I had much less time for the people I love and the things I enjoy doing. 

I offloaded some tasks to reprioritize my hours and reclaim my energy. And it’s already paying off. Work is becoming fun again because it isn’t the only thing I do. My husband and I have dinner together every night. My health is improving as my Peleton miles increase. And I have whitespace on my calendar for dreaming, brainstorming, and creating. 

For me, that’s WINNING. 

Now it’s your turn. You know what winning means, and you’re clear about what it requires and what obstacles you must overcome. You also know who you can turn to if you need help figuring out where to start, right? That’s me! 

If you take one thing away with you today, please let it be this: winning means more than reaching the top; it means finding joy, purpose, and fulfillment along the way.

Lisa L. Baker - Certified Personal, Career, Success and Life Coach

Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.

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