Dear B,

First, I think it is awesome that you are such a hard worker.  You show so much dedication and it is clear you truly care about what you are doing.  This dedication is admirable and something I think all of us aspire toward.

But (and everything comes with a but, right) you have to set boundaries.  You have to know your limits.  You have to have things outside of work that fuel you.

I understand where you are coming from – I think I am the one who always says that it is so easy to give more to work, because unlike a lot of relationships the more you put in the more you give back.  For those of us seeking love or validation this cycle is self-reinforcing.  I know for me, when everything was wrong in my personal life – I had a bad breakup, or thought I would get a divorce from my husband, my work pulled me through.  Focusing on something I could control, something that I could feed and then in return gave me praise, adoration and success.  It is a great feeling.

However, the thing about work is that it is never-ending.  You can never give it enough.  There is always more.   Your to do list will only get longer.  Your inbox will keep refilling.  And it is important to find that balance.

Besides working hard there are lots of things that contribute to success.  One of these is being a great person – inside and out.  That means you have to be healthy.  In every personal improvement, self help book, you will probably find at least one mention of regular exercise – and it is true.  You will be happier when you are at your best – which means eating right, sleeping enough, and getting regular exercise.  You have to make this part of your life, and your work.

On the inside, you have to be happy.  Sure, work and success can be a big part of that, but you have to have hobbies and dreams and goals.  Work can be part of your goals – I know that my job, my blog, twitter, even the books I read for fun are all part of my goals; and many of those things contribute to my career success as well.  But you have to think big picture and go for the long haul.  Life is a marathon not a sprint.

Furthermore, even in work you cannot do everything.  You are one man.  You must learn to triage, prioritize and pick your battles.  Too often from the sidelines I watch you fighting wars that don’t belong to you – at the cost of other, perhaps more strategic and advantageous, opportunities.  Learn to delegate.  Improve your communication.  Don’t fight every battle.  Instead drive it from the sidelines – provide guidance and instructions but be picky.  Pick and choose your battles, as they say.

So, read this, take some deep breaths (they say deep breathing helps too, and it certainly calms me down at times), and then take a break.  Think about what you really want out of the life.  What really makes you happy, or will make you happy? Breathe some more.  Work will still be there when you get back.

Keep up the good work, and let me know how I can help.

Kate