I got caught with another addiction.
Now this isn’t really a new addiction. I’ve had it so long that it’s basically part of my personality and people just consider it to be a “Katie trait”. But it had become obvious enough to the people around me that it landed me in the middle of an intervention on a Wednesday night in Tribeca. An intervention I needed!
I’m a part of a women’s group that meets about every six weeks in the city. There are eight of us and we’re all successful in our own ways. During the meetings, we figure out deals, work on issues, make promises about what we want to create in our lives (career, money, family, etc.) and hold each other accountable for all of it. Everyone is very supportive and the meetings are cool, unless it happens to be a meeting where you get your ass kicked. Then it’s a loud wake up call.
During this one particular meeting, I had no idea my life was about to change, again. But I know enough from past transformations that when people I trust tell me something profound about me, I should listen to what they are saying even if I don’t want too. And every time I’ve listened and taken the advice, my life has jumped to the next level.
So, here’s what happened. During the meeting we took turns sharing about our successes over the past 6 weeks in the different areas of life. When it was my turn, I told about my career. Things were going well with my TV show, a movie I wrote was resurrected, and the HG Media Division, which I run, is having a lot of wins. Everyone was impressed. Then I started to share about what we call “work-life balance,” which I was excited about because at the last meeting I was told I needed to work on that area and I believed I had made some strides over the past six weeks.
Now to give you some backstory, I work a lot. Probably 70 or 80 hours per week So, after our last meeting, I took everyone’s advice and made a new promise around work-life-balance. My promise was that every weeknight I had to spend an hour not working. I could watch TV, play online, talk to friends, go out, whatever.
I thought I would be praised for my new promise. Instead, they looked at me like I just cracked a great joke.
I wasn’t joking. Immediately, I fought back and explained that an hour a night is a lot of time! Well, guess what? No one agreed (except for my one friend who is also obsessed with work). For a moment we were allies, although she was smart enough to shut up quickly. Me? I continued to fight.
The next half hour turned into my intervention. I will cut to the chase and share my revelation.
I am a workaholic. I work late every night. I work weekends. I’ve been single for years. My dating life sucks. I blow off events to work instead. My obsession with work is impacting my success in other areas of my life. And, if it wasn’t for my friends who drag me out and make me do cool stuff with them, I’d be a total hermit.
Now in my defense, I have a good life. I love my career. I love my friends. I love my family. I am happy. I really am. I’m so blessed and fortunate. BUT it’s all about work. And of course my self-esteem is totally tied up in my work.
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I left the meeting that night a bit shell-shocked, although I wasn’t really surprised. I felt like a junkie who had been partying during the day for a long time and had finally been caught. It was almost a relief. I needed an intervention.
The next day I had a coaching call where we came up with better work-life-balance promises for me that would perhaps be less laugh-worthy.
- No more working on weekends.
- Three nights a week I had to stop working by 8pm.
- When I’m not working, I am not allowed to do work email (yes, you know you’re an addict when you have to be that specific.)
- I must go on at least one date a week.
- I must go out or hangout with friends at least twice a week.
Forty-eight hours after that coaching call, I went into work withdrawal. It was a Saturday afternoon and I started panicking about not being able to read my work emails. I was actually hanging out with one of my friends who is also my boss and she said to me, “I’m your boss and I don’t want you working weekends. I want you happy. Relax. This is all YOU.”
She was right. It was all me. No one was pressuring me to work long hours except me. Now, I took psychology in college and I’ve been coached by the best life coaches in the industry. I know that there is always something behind an addiction. What is it for me? Well, first there’s lineage. Almost everyone in my family is a workaholic. My brothers. My dad. My sister. It’s in our DNA. It flows through our veins. I’ve been unconsciously playing out a family pattern without realizing I could actually be the one to change it.
Secondly, I’d rather work 70 hours a week than deal with dating. It’s true. I said it out loud. I use work to hide and not deal with my love life. Although now that I have dating promises, I am going to have to start dealing with love. Stay tuned. I’m sure it’ll be a future blog.
Anyway, during my first week of “work detox” I was numb, antsy and strangely insecure. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’m aware that when you take away an addiction you to tend to replace it with something else. What did I replace my workaholism with? I started playing and designing in other areas of my life. I began working out more. I caught up on some TV shows I really wanted to watch. I made plans to hang out with people I hadn’t seen in awhile. I made a promise to go on a photography excursion at least once a month and take photos, which I had stopped doing years ago because I was too busy. AND guess what else? I started dating again. Yes, I’m finally addressing my love life.
And you know what? I’m happier. I really am. I had no idea that cutting back on my work hours would impact so many other areas of my life. What did I learn from this experience? Addictions are a distraction and keep you from fully living your life. Even when your life is already pretty great, there’s always room for improvement.
DID YOU RELATE TO ANY OF THIS?
Maybe you aren’t a workaholic like me, but instead you use something else to explain why you never get to accomplish a particular dream. Where do you need an intervention in your life? What area(s) are you ignoring right now? If you’re not sure, ask your friends. I bet they know. But they usually can’t help you see how to turn it around, that’s where Handel comes in. Schedule a 30 Min Consultation to find out which coaching options are right for you.