You woke up early today in order to beat the traffic and be at your workstation by 8.00am as required by your employer. You got to the office almost sweating but glad that you had made it just on time – 7.59am. You began the day by attempting to clear last week’s backlog only for the day’s work to catch up with you. Along the way, you got confused on which of the two to handle first, but you kept the faith clearly remembering that they both depended on you and had timelines as well.
Miraculously, 5.00pm came. The official day was over but you still had some pending work which you had committed to clear by close of business. The day had been so long that you had not gotten time to call your spouse during the day. Immediately, your memory sorted you by reminding that at that time, there was a lot of traffic hence there was no need to rush home and get stuck in traffic. In a twinkle of an eye, your company TV was broadcasting the 7 o’clock news. “Gosh! Its getting late”, you exclaimed to yourself. You began the official shut down rituals as guided by your employment terms and policies and whatever else you call them. Of course it surprised you how the office clock was reading 7.47pm yet you had just begun shutting down a few seconds before.
You managed to get to your bus park but there were no ready vehicles, so you had to wait. At 8.43pm by your watch, you had managed to gladly seat in the bus enroute to your area of residence. It surprised you that the traffic had not ended despite you having burnt close to three hours in the office. You got home at 10pm and evidently tired. The day, just like the other working days, had been long. Your two children were asleep as always. After exchanging pleasantries with your spouse, you found yourself on the sofa, only to be woken up to go and sleep in the designated sleeping chamber. The day is gone, your employer is sorted and happy with your services, what about you?
Probably, you woke up and left your house early today in order to open your shop earlier than competition and leverage on the early morning customers. The day was full of activity and you hardly got any breathing space. You even forgot, or rather, lacked time to have your lunch because the customers kept coming. No doubt your business is flourishing and you are joyous about it; in fact, that feeling is bigger than the urge to have your lunch. It also surprised you how fast the evening came and before long, the same customers you attended to in the morning were coming back from their daily engagements.
You wanted to close shop but you got excited by the multitude of people making inquiries and buying a thing here and there from your shop. You also saw a chance to make a huge killing from the evening customers and you decided, just as usual, to open till late. The day did not betray you because you made sales more than ever before. These days, you have set a new home arrival time record of 10.30pm and all indications are that you will break it before you are celebrated for it; today was no different. Your children were asleep by the time you got home and I do not need to emphasize that you were dead tired. Just like the guy above, you also dozed off and the rest is history. If your shop were a human being, it would have told you how glad it was that you opened and operated it from dawn to night; what about you?
It is interesting how we often chase after the world in a bid to make ends meet, at our expense. We have neglected and relegated our own selves. We do everything to grow in our professions and businesses but nothing to grow our own selves. We have houses we rarely occupy and spouses we hardly feel; we have beds we rarely sleep in and children we hardly know. Of course we justify that we are working hard to make life better, only to realize in the end that we neglected the most vital part of this universe – ourselves.
You may wonder who ‘you’ refers to in my question, ‘what about you?’. It refers to the fundamentals that make up the person you are. It refers to the irreplaceable components of your wellbeing. It refers to your mental status, your health and your family. In most cases, your pursuance of career advancement injures these three components of your life which are irreplaceable. Personal development is all rounded and these three form the basis of any other form of development. Unfortunately, they are the most neglected.
I will see you doing everything humanly possible to be at your workplace on time, but I won’t see you doing anything to be at the gym on time. I will see you struggling to attend all meetings at the workplace, but I won’t see you attempting to attend all school functions for your child. I will see you diarizing company events but I won’t see you trying to remember your wedding anniversary or your spouse’s birthday. I will see you religiously reading the office magazine or your business brochures but I may hardly see you reading a personal development book. It goes on and on.
Sadly, we all know the gravity of these three sectors of our lives, yet we give excuses bordering on being busy at work or in the shop to traffic that delays us from getting home early. Unknown to us is the fact that the development of our mental status, our health and family has got no makeup session. Each day you have not done anything for your health, goes by the wind; each day you miss time with your family will never be made up. Life has got no rehearsals. Rebuilding a collapsed business is possible and easier than awakening a retarded mental capacity; getting another job after losing one is possible and easier than reconnecting with your children once they are all grown; catching up with a report is possible and easier than regaining shape once obesity sets in.
Your employer is not to blame for your negligence and ignorance of ‘you’. Each day has 24 hours. It is what you do after the employer’s eight or so hours that determines how far you grow in all spheres of your life. You realize most of your 24 hours is not utilized by your employer but you. I urge you to be selfish for a moment, a short moment every day. Before you go to bed, ask yourself, ‘what about me?’ An investment of say an hour daily on ‘you’ goes a long way in addressing these delicate concerns. You may wonder how, but there are many ways to invest in yourself before you call it a day. You may read a chapter or pages of a book for your mental development; you may spend time playing and bonding with your children and spouse; you may choose to go to the gym for your health; you may choose to learn a craft that you are passionate about. Be deliberate about it. No matter what it is, be sure to do something for your own self, every day, because YOU CAN DO BETTER!
Motivational Speaker and Author