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  • Writer's pictureNicole Provonchee

I Finally Learned A Powerful Secret to Success: An Open Blog to My Fellow Workaholics and Overachiev

My dear fellow workaholics and overachievers,

I just learned a new, amazing, powerful skill that I wanted to share with you. This skill has the ability to literally change your life and make you even MORE productive and effective at work and home.

What is this amazing new skill you ask? It's not a new way to manage your time or a plan to work a four-hour workday and still get promoted. It is a skill that I am sure you have been told about and fundamentally rejected for years, maybe decades (I know I did). It is a skill that runs counter to everything that has gotten you this far.

So, because I have recently experienced the immense power of this new skill, I want to share it with you.

Wait for it...

Here you go...

Here it is...

The revolutionary, transformative secret is...


Yes! I know - I too gagged at the notion of "self-care" upon its first (and many, many subsequent) utterances. Yet, I am here to tell you - it works!

Stay with me...

Let me explain: I define a type-A personality. I crave the sweet powerful feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing tasks with timelines that seem impossible or improbable. I have frequently forgone sleeping, eating, exercising and anything even remotely resembling healthy habits to be sure my [insert whatever deliverable is needed] is not just great - but outstanding. Sure, I made time for work, family, and (occasionally) friends, but taking time for myself was most certainly greedy or indulgent.

My body sent many (many) signals to slow down and rest, but I believed rest is for the unambitious - or at least it was not an option for people like me with "important" jobs and/or a family. My ego often speaks loudly: People need and depend on me.

A quick example: Last year, when hit hard with the flu, I took pride in pushing through the pain and fever to work several hours each day. I ensured my inbox was cleared, meetings were held, and documents were delivered. My flu lingered, but I preserved - there was work to do! Upon my return a week later, I noted my steely determination not to let a thing like the flu get me down. (A wise and sarcastically inclined colleague asked if I thought my boss would "give me a medal." No medal was awarded.)

So back to this self-care thing. Here is the secret - when you take care of your body, you actually heal faster and perhaps even avoid illness in the first place. You can get more done by actually doing less and listening to your body.

I know, I know! This is counter to what your overachieving mind has told you for all these decades!

But hear me out: Just this week, I was hit with a cold. At the urging of my husband, I decided to try this self-care thing. I went to bed early, drank lots of fluids, ate extra healthy meals, took copious amounts of vitamin C, spent the next day in bed without my computer, napped and watched a bit of bad reality TV. And, you know what - it worked! In the past, colds would last at least a week. This one: 48 hours.

What else? No one died. The work was still there when I felt better. The world survived my absence.

Who knew that self-care could be so powerful? My eye-rolling husband will tell you everyone knows, but my fellow workaholics and overachievers - I ask you: Do you really know the power of self-care? Have you really leaned in and tried out this whole resting and relaxing thing?

So that's the secret: self-care. When you take care of your body, mind and soul - and invest in it as much as you invest in your career - you can get more done.

And it does not take much to get started: a walk in the park, a massage, leaving work at 5pm (and leaving work AT work), downloading and using a meditation app, making time for a drink with a good friend. and resting when you feel crappy.

My sweet colleagues, I ask you to lean into my secret as soon as you can. You never know, it just might be that secret to success you are seeking!

Need help taking care of YOU? Are you seeing trends that are holding you back from being your best, most successful self? Reach out. I work with existing and emerging women leaders that want to THRIVE and find their own ideal balance/integration of work and life.

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