I recently heard a keynote address that really resonated with me on many levels.

The words were so powerful, in fact, that I’ve begun to share them with others who, like me, bought into the belief that to get ahead, we must be the first in the office in the morning and the last to leave in the evening – and then have a side hustle in our spare time.

New to my role as a business development manager in Design Collaborative’s Charlotte, North Carolina office, I’m working hard to be successful and to prove myself.

For much of my career in sales, I’ve worked long, hard hours, burning the candle at both ends. I began to shift my thinking, though, when I heard the speech by Sara Ross, the author of Dear Work: Something Has to Change. Ross is critical of the so-called “hustle culture” that emphasizes the pressure to work excessively hard and maintain a constant grind, even at the expense of personal time and relationships.

Now that I’ve started to approach my work differently, I’m enjoying more success without feeling exhausted and burned out. I’m convinced that others can learn how to do that, too.

Here are some key takeaways.


Stop feeling like the only way to be successful is to think about work 24/7.

You may get to the finish line faster, but it’s not sustainable and you won’t have very much fun. I’m finding that by unplugging, when possible, I have more energy and actually get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time. I can be more productive because I’m not constantly stressed out. It’s not just obvious at work. At home, my wife notices I’m more present with my family. I’m more engaged and not as distracted.



Not all stress is bad.

Use the pressure of an impending deadline or presentation to energize you. This is not meant to be toxic positivity. I’m referring to slightly altering your mindset in a way that allows you to focus intently on your goals and look for ways to achieve them.


Self-care looks different for everyone but is essential.

Recharging is more than getting a massage. In her book, Ross refers to the CARE index, saying it includes connection, activation, restoration, and exploration. In my personal life, I’m finding that by spending more time on the relationships that are important to me, I feel more rested, more content, and more ready to tackle the challenges in my professional life. Balancing professional achievement with personal satisfaction is not just a lofty goal but an achievable reality. By shifting our mindset away from the constant hustle and towards sustainable work habits, we can unlock greater productivity and fulfillment. Implementing manageable work hours, leveraging positive stress, and prioritizing self-care are essential steps to this balance. Remember, true success is as much about enjoying the journey as it is about reaching the destination.

Additionally, balance looks different for everyone. It’s crucial to find a balance tailored to your own needs and priorities, which includes being aware of your limits and setting boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say no to tasks that stretch you too thin. Prioritizing well-being is as important as accomplishing goals. Seeking support and building a strong network is invaluable. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals can provide insight and encouragement. Joining networking groups or reaching out to mentors for guidance can be beneficial. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements along the way. Recognize small victories and appreciate your progress, boosting motivation and maintaining a positive outlook.

In summary, achieving work-life balance requires dedication, self-awareness, and a supportive community. By consciously balancing professional success with personal satisfaction, we can lead more fulfilling and productive lives. Keep learning, growing, and prioritizing your well-being for long-term success and happiness. Here’s to finding fulfillment in both personal and professional realms.

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