Post by Bonnie Marcus, contributing Women On Business writer
A friend commented to me the other day that he thought I was a workaholic, and it prompted me to think about the veracity of that statement. I do certainly work many many hours so I was very curious to see if I actually fell into the category of having an addiction to work. I looked up the definition of “workaholism”. I found two definitions.
Workaholism is a compulsiveness to work.
Workaholism is an obsessive need to work.
Now, I look at these two definitions and try to be as objective as anyone can be about themselves (that’s a challenge) and weigh whether or not I fall into the dreaded “workaholic” category. I will admit that I am compulsive about work, therefore, the first definition fits. However, I don’t feel an obsessive need to work, just for the sake of working.
My question is this. When you are an entrepreneur or trying to advance your career is it necessary to be a workaholic to be successful?
As an entrepreneur, my passion and drive propels me to work and build my business. Most of the time, it does not even feel like work. I am in a creative zone and the adrenaline takes over. Hours go by and I actually lose track of time. I am very fortunate that my work is stimulating and aligned with my passion to assist professional women to be successful. It is true that I end up working many extra hours each week, but it doesn’t feel obsessive to me. The primary force behind the long hours is my love for my business.
There is nothing wrong in having the drive to succeed. One would be foolish to think that you can start a business or advance your career without putting in much time and effort. Successful careers and businesses don’t happen by chance. The danger is perhaps in consistently choosing work over other options such as family, friends, exercise, and recreational activities. It is easy to lose track of how important it is to balance your life. In fact, stepping away from work every so often can also contribute to your success. The break allows you to be even more creative and productive and gives you a new perspective on your business and career path.
Here is my answer to the above question on whether you need to be a workaholic to be successful. Hard work is unquestionably an important factor in success. Yes, you need to work hard and work smart to be successful. Smart working habits that include time well spent in other activities that nourish your body and soul are other important components for a successful life and career. When you recognize that you are consistently choosing work over everything else in your life, beware. An obsession with work can be as dysfunctional as other types of addiction and just as unhealthy.
I am interested in hearing your comments. How much time do you feel you need to devote to work to be successful?