Of everything that you could do over the course of your life, you should only actually do a fraction of those things. And of those things which you should do, only a narrow set of things should be done with the full measure of everything you have to give.
Do you ever ask yourself whether or not the thing you are doing is worth potentially sacrificing your future health and well-being for? Is it really worth giving all you have? How do you know if it is? The answer is likely not what you are used to telling yourself.
I’ll give you a hint: It’s not a presentation deck for a client, no matter how important. It’s that pitch to your boss. It’s not a meeting or a conference call or answering email.
In fact, most of the things that we fret and stress and push ourselves to the limit to complete are not the things that we should be spending the full measure of our energy on. Any work we do should be done well, of course. But almost everything you need to do — even the important stuff — just needs to get done. And getting it done is almost never as complicated as you think.
By holding yourself hostage to perfection, you’re making the mountain harder to climb than it needs to be. Instead, focus on just getting started, and then deliver the 80% solution that can be accomplished with 20% of the effort.
What, then, should you pour your heart and soul into?
Investing in relationships, both at work and at home. Guiding and mentoring and teaching. Lifting up those who don’t have the same fortune or position as you. Human connection.
What about that dream of starting a business?
Pursuing your own dreams instead of the dreams of someone else is a perfectly valid place to give it one hundred percent. But be wary of the motivation; money is fleeting, success comes and goes. A business is not worth pushing away your family and friends, and you will end up regretting the trade-off.
The next time something presumes to demand everything you have, ask the question: Will this matter in 10 years?
The positive impact you can have on another person lasts a lifetime. That crushing deadline at work won’t be remembered even a year after it passes.