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Personal Development

In Defense of Workaholism

By David Ackert on May, 10 2012

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David Ackert

If you've read any of the articles published on stress since the mid-70s, you know that there is a big difference between eustress (or "excitement") and distress (which is what we really mean when we say we're "stressed out"). The truth is that eustress, or positive stress, causes our bodies to release a cocktail of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine that improves our performance. Eustress motivates us and heightens our focus. It's how we fortify ourselves with the energy we need to tackle positive challenges.

I've found that between my own business development, coaching clients, speaking engagements, managing my team, running Practice Boomers, and preparing to launch my next e-learning venture, Prospero J.D., I'm working longer hours than ever. But I'm also more excited than I've ever been. I feel that I am fulfilling my calling. There are moments of distress, certainly, but for the most part, I'm experiencing a constant low-burn of eustress. During my downtime, I sometimes feel a dull restlessness, tugging me back to the things that I want to do for my business.

I used to beat myself up about it. "I should have more life balance," I would tell myself. Eventually, I realized that the pressure I was putting on myself to make my life fit the idyllic picture in my head was becoming another stressor. I accepted the fact that I like my work. It's deeply satisfying. And the personal domains in my life are getting the attention they require. It just so happens that, for me, life balance is weighted more toward the professional than the personal.

I'm convinced that the primary reason for this is that I love what I do for a living. But it's also worth mentioning that ever since I adopted the practice of taking short breaks every 90 minutes or so, I significantly reduced instances of "burn-out."

Perhaps I'm an exception, so let's hear from you. Do you have a balanced life? If not, how do you manage distress? Use the section below to share as much as you feel comfortable given the public forum.

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