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  • Writer's pictureDeeAnn Bennett

"An Unsustainable Pace Will Take You To An Unsustainable Place"

I recently attended a leadership conference and one of the speakers was talking about "Being vs. Doing". He was saying that we need to "Be" first and "Do" last. In other words, work life balance. Or as a networking friend said to me last week, "life work balance."

A couple of notes that I took from the leadership conference said this: If you find yourself "doing" without the priority of "being", you will end up "frying". When you're too busy "doing", you lose your "being".

Lately, I have noticed that many of my colleagues and friends are getting burned out at work, burned out at home and just burned out in general because life is hard. I certainly don't have the life work balance figured out completely, but I have learned over the years that being a workaholic is not a good thing, and when I was a workaholic, someone around me always suffered and 99% of the time it was myself and my family.

Here are just a few things that I implemented in my own life, so that burn out and workaholism wouldn't rear it's ugly head:

  1. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF PHYSICALLY - There is a reason that they tell you on an airplane to secure the oxygen mask to yourself before trying to help anyone else. If you pass out from the loss of cabin pressure, you can help no one. Do you have an outlet for keeping stress at a minimum? Three and a half years ago, I reluctantly started to do Crossfit as a way to relieve stress, boost my energy and lose some weight. Up until I started Crossfit, I absolutely despised exercising. I can't even begin to tell you how many gym memberships were a pure donation each year. I never went. Although I still don't thoroughly enjoy exercising, it is tolerable and I like the results for sure!

  2. HAVE A HOBBY OR DEVELOP A SKILL OUTSIDE OF WORK - About five years ago, I finally fulfilled a dream and started taking piano lessons. I was 38 years old at the time, and although I knew it would be hard, it was something I looked forward to each week. One of things that I was able to do with that skill was play piano for the homeless at a Christmas Day outreach. For the past three years, I've had the privilege of playing piano and singing songs for our homeless out at Myron Leavitt Park in Las Vegas, NV each year on Christmas Day!

  3. SERVE OTHER PEOPLE WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS - Nothing makes you forget your work problems or your stresses in life like serving other people who need to be loved and cared about. Recently, my church had a serve day, so about fifteen of us went to a nursing home in Henderson, NV to play music, sing and play games with the people there. As I played piano and sang, my youngest son and my husband played dominos with a few of the patients. Towards the end of our two hours, someone in our group wanted to take a photo. One of the nursing home patients said to my husband, "I don't want to take a photo, I'm ugly." My husband replied, "You're not ugly, I'm ugly." She then said "Oh nooooo honey, YOU are handsome." There is nothing like bringing joy to other people and having your husband get hit on by an 80 year old woman!! :)

  4. PLAN A VACATION - I realize not everyone can go on a vacation but even a staycation with your work phone turned off is better than nothing. Having a vacation planned gives you something to look forward to. And this may not be popular to say, but PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD put an "out of office reply" on your work email and your work phone(s) when you go on vacation! Tell people that you will not be able to respond to voicemails or emails until you return. What good is a vacation if you are on the phone and answering emails while your kids and spouse are enjoying the pool, the ocean or that theme park on vacation?? I had to learn this the hard way. I am almost ashamed to admit it, but I remember when my kids were little, I picked up my phone at Disneyland and took a work call. Not only did I get aggravated from the call but I ended up ignoring my kids and my husband for almost 30 minutes while I "worked" on vacation.

The moral of the story is, you can never get back time with your family. You have to honor your family first before work. I've had a couple of friends tell me that they fear being fired if they were to truly put themselves and their family first and take those vacation days or relax on their days off. Let me just say VERY LOUDLY that there is NO JOB or BUSINESS in the world that is worth ignoring your family for. You have to let go of that fear! The friends that tell me about this fear, they are some of the hardest working people that I know! They aren't doing the minimum to get by, they are truly loyal and disciplined employees. Their employers should be grateful for their hard work and allow these incredible people to rejuvenate themselves on their days off and have a couple of vacations a year, if not more.

DeeAnn Bennett is the President of ark Payment Solutions and a veteran of the merchant services industry. DeeAnn can be reached at


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