Slaying the Pressures of Success
By: Rhonda J. Huthmacher MA, LMFTA
Oh, sweet success! Doesn’t it feel good to be recognized for all of your hard work? After all, you did sacrifice a great deal to earn the position, the rank, or the level that you can now bask in. When you work hard for something it is completely normal to hope that your efforts will yield a positive return. But what happens when the journey to success isn’t the easiest road to travel? How effectively are we taking care of ourselves? Are we attuned enough with our bodies to recognize when we need to slow down or do we continue to let the pressures of success destroy us from within?
Let’s quantify some things. As you are moving forward on your success journey how many meetings, conversations (phone, Skype, or in-person), texts, emails, reports completed, tests taken, papers written, money spent, data compiled and hours at work would you say you have given to the possibility of success? How many hours have you dedicated to self-care and tracking any symptoms of burn-out that you may be experiencing but possibly ignoring? I cannot speak for everyone but I fail miserably at self-care. My guess is that I’m not alone in this unequally balanced journey. To clarify, I’m not asking these questions to prevent anyone from achieving their dreams and goals. I am highlighting awareness to the fact that as a society, we have a great deal of difficulty caring for ourselves.
We spend copious amounts of time trying to achieve higher heights and sadly we are sacrificing ourselves along the way. It is also challenging to slow down in such a fast paced world. How intentional are we with meeting our need to eat or when we need a drink of water? What about our intention when we choose what we are going to wear for the day? These are some of our basic needs that have to be met. Why aren’t we just as intentional when we are scheduling time to stop, drop, and relax? One sad answer could be that it is easier to ignore cues from our bodies than it is to ignore something that we are doing to get ahead. Will you be able to relish in your success if you’re dead when you get there?! Of course not!
Proper balance is important when trying to self-care. I understand that many people have to work more than 40 hours at their jobs in order to accomplish what is required for the week. As I stated before, it requires strong intention when carving out time from your busy schedule to relax. Take small breaks if you can throughout the day. You can also try unplugging from your electronics when you’re taking a break. If you can find any spare time in your schedule during the week you could incorporate meditation, acupuncture, or yoga. Some other things that you can try are Progressive Muscle Relaxation or relaxing by guided imagery. At the very center of all of these methods of slowing down is breathing. Thankfully, we don’t have to schedule time to breathe. You can sit where you are, try and clear your mind and just breathe.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with pursuing success in a healthy way. There are several things that can help when trying to guard against the pressures that the road to success can bring. Start being intentional with scheduling some of these activities that will help you relax. Not every method or activity is going to fit each individual’s taste. Find the one that is right for you and put it into regular practice. Are you going to be consistent in the beginning? Possibly not, but that’s quite alright. It takes at least 21 days or 3 weeks to form a habit. Give yourself the chance to relax and create some balance in your life. You deserve it!
***Another beautifully written article that is truly on point and gives great tips on being successful and taking care of self in the process. Thank you Sister Rhonda for sharing.
Family: May the blessings of Yah be with you and your family!