The higher up you get, the harder you have to work

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Well, that was what I believed for ages, anyway. That making it to the C-suite meant foregoing downtime, a personal life or meaningful breaks. That you give up that healthy work-life balance you’ve been striving to maintain. That it is all go, go, go for the business. And I saw it play out like that for many of the high-ups I used to work with; it truly wasn’t just a figment of my imagination.

Time and time again I hear variations of this thinking when I speak to women about their careers. Somewhere in their brain there is a connection between senior positions and crazy hard work. Sometimes it’s a parent that has modelled this. Sometimes it’s a boss or other senior figures in the companies they work for.

And it puts them off. Not because they’re lazy slackers, but because they have other ambitions too, and are unwilling to give their life to their work only. It stops them from actively reaching out for the next step, because they believe that would come with sacrifices they’re not willing to make. Or so they tell themselves…

Here’s the truth, though.

Staying stuck in lower or middle management is going to get or keep you exactly in the place you don’t want to be in, where you work too many damn long hours. It’s because you’re at the mercy of other people’s agenda, needs and prioritisation, and not in control of your own schedule.

Working hard, even crazy hours is NOT a function of your level of job. It’s a function of your capacity for boundary-setting, or lack thereof.

YOU are holding the power to decide on how many hours you work.

YOU are holding the keys to how much of your life you give to your work.

YOU determine the work-life balance that you’re comfortable with. 

YOU are in control.

I know plenty of people at the bottom of the career ladder that work ridiculously hard. And just as there are many overworked and overstretched CEOs and senior leaders, there are also relaxed people in leadership, who work smart, not hard. Precisely because they are in positions of power, they get to call the shots on how they spend their time and energy.

See how it works?

So, my friend… if you are stuck on the idea that if you were to get promoted, you would somehow have to work even harder than you already are, please re-assess these thoughts. It is not true, it’s not helpful, and it will keep you stuck where you are – at the mercy of other people’s ideas.

Instead, my friend, I need you to take control. Decide for yourself on where your boundaries are, what kind of work-life balance you’re comfortable creating, and then communicate them clearly and unapologetically. That way, you will soar: both in your work and private life.

If you want help in doing this (it’s not easy, I know), do let me know. Owning your power, getting clear on where and how you do your best work and then how you can best communicate these boundaries in a powerful, positive way that builds the relationship rather than breaks it down, is what I specialise at.

Jump on a call with me to see if I can support you with this too. You can book that here.

Book a call with my team for a free coaching session and let’s see what we can do for you!