You’re Doing Everything Right

We’re told that success comes to those who outwork the rest. But my wife gave me the real message I needed to hear.

Credit: Chéng Róng Mù/EyeEm/Getty Images

EEarly last year, my anxiety was at an all-time high. I’d cut ties with all my consulting clients and walked away from an ownership opportunity with a thriving startup in order to go all-in on my writing and coaching career.

Every morning, I looked at my wife and our kids and I wondered if I’d made the best decision. Was my writing good enough? Would I have enough coaching clients to support our family? Would the uncertainty of leaving “good” in search of “great” be worth it? I was scared. I could barely focus.

My dad always told me that reaching career goals at the expense of loved ones wasn’t success. So I made a promise to myself that with my new career focus, I wouldn’t work more hours than I’d worked in my previous roles, and I’d be there for my friends and family as much as I had before.

I didn’t want to break these promises. But as I struggled to get my new full-time career off the ground, I found myself getting dangerously close. The opportunities weren’t coming in, and I wondered if I needed to make a drastic change.

In the moments when the stress got the best of me, I leaned on my wife. Not once did she waver. “Keep doing what you’re doing,” she told me, often. “You’re doing everything right. Give it some time.”

Over the next few months, to my surprise, I received three messages that proved my wife right.

The first message came in June

I was at the airport waiting for a friend to arrive. I opened up Facebook to kill some time — and there, waiting for me, was a message from the man I admire most in the business and creative world. He and another well-respected coach wanted to know if I was up for working on a few projects with them.

For months, I’d been hoping they were watching me.

It turns out they were.

The second message came in August

I was packing for vacation, and before I left, I checked my email one last time. Sitting in my inbox was a message from an editor at a publication I’d been wanting to contribute to. He told me that his team had gone through my old articles and loved what they saw. He then asked me if I was up for submitting my work to be featured.

I’d been hoping they were watching me.

It turns out they were.

The third message came in September

I’d just sat down to work for the day and opened up LinkedIn. In my inbox was a short message from a person an ocean away, asking me if I’d ever thought about writing a book. She told me that she and her partners had been following my progress and wanted to talk about possible representation.

I’d been hoping they were watching me.

It turns out they were.

Everywhere we turn, we are told that success comes to those who outwork the rest, who put in 18-hour days, who live by the slogan “rise and grind.” But maybe you don’t have to work harder. Maybe you’re already doing enough. Maybe you’ve already done the work, and the world just needs a little bit more time.

Sit with that thought for a moment. Think about all the work you’ve done. The obstacles you’ve overcome. The goals you’ve fought hard to reach. Maybe you don’t need to change what you’re doing. Maybe the only thing separating you from your dreams is time.

Co-creator of 2 cool boys with an equally cool woman • Career Coach • Business Insider, Fast Co., Forbes • Follow along for career tips and life reminders.

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