On Slowing Down, But Not Falling Behind

So I pushed. And on the surface, I may have actually seemed better, faster and stronger than everyone else. I graduated with highest honours, produced a kick-ass thesis, helped successfully complete that fundraising campaign, became the Ottawa Chapter Lead of Ladies Learning Code, joined a board of directors, did a crap-load of freelance and volunteer work and spent a few great months at a great startup.

The worst part is that the harder I pushed myself, the more 'positive' reinforcement I received from friends and colleagues "you're amazing", "you're so strong", "look at everything you've accomplished under the circumstances". Fuelled by that feedback, a dose of ego and a deep-seated fear of 'falling behind', I convinced myself that what I was doing was healthy.

But it wasn't.

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In late spring, I made a decision to move away from a startup job and delve deeper into my community work. At the time, a close friend who had also lost a parent warned me that as soon as I slowed down, grief would catch up to me.

My response? "Well, my 'slowing down' is a little different than most people's slowing down".

Read: I'm not weak like those people. Nothing will slow me down, I'm better than that. I am a hustler.

Turns out she was right and I was so full of shit.

A few weeks ago, mothers day came around and rocked my world. I realized that I had never given myself the time or permission to grieve my mother's death, and that it had finally caught up to me. And as much as I hate the fact that it keeps me from being able to pull my usual 50-60 hour work weeks, I know that it's time to face the music, and slow down and that I'll be a much stronger person/professional because of it.

So I'm practicing saying no, and giving myself some breathing room.Because I've learned that one of the most important qualities that a hustler can have is knowing when to fly the white flag.

In closing, let me say this: It's okay to slow down. It doesn't mean that you're an inferior runner, or a weaker athlete. It just means that you're running the race on your terms not everyone else's.

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Posted in Jobs/Employment Post Date 12/11/2020


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