Giving my 100% but with self care

jasonleow  •  22 Sept 2022   •  

I just completed my consulting project yesterday. I really wanted to do a good job with it. I wanted to give my all. Yet this time, my all didn’t include sacrificing my sleep, health and sense of wellbeing.

And that felt gooooood.

Since forever, since my early years in sports especially, doing my best and giving my all was often associated with ignoring pain. When you run long distance, you learn to ignore the pain signals your body is sending you to keep going. You can rest when it’s over. Over time that’s become my default mode of operation.

I disembody. I ignore pain and push on. In work. For my projects. In my career. In life.

For a time that served me well, I went the distance in work where others dropped off. I worked till 3am in office. I worked evenings and weekends. And I was rewarded for that. It further affirmed that I was doing it ‘right’. It might have been right… for a time. For that stage in life where I was young and can take beatings. But over the years the beatings accumulated, and my health began to suffer in my late 30s.

Now I’m 43, and it’s plain as day that I can’t keep doing that no more.

So I made sure I was just as committed to sleep and health during this project as I’m committed to the project objectives. I slept 8h for 1 month leading up to the start of the project to get my energy back. It worked. I continued to commit to good sleeping habits throughout the project. I made sure I ate well, ate more. Self care was as important as client care.

And I made it through. Mostly intact. Caught the flu the day before a big three day workshop, but miraculously got well enough the next day to proceed. Got a sprained shoulder the next week (from bad posture while standing to facilitate discussions), but got some treatment and it’s better. Still exhausted though, but relieved.

So giving my 100% but with self care is possible.

I mean, I know it’s possible in theory. But I’ve never experienced it practically. I’ve certainly not sought it out intentionally. I’ve always given my all, then try to rest and recover after. This time I managed to balance both, two seemingly polar opposites.

It’s not either health or hard work.

It’s health AND hard work.

This really shouldn’t need to be said. But humans are funny. I’m imperfect.

At least this time, at a ripe old age of 43, I managed to get just 1% less imperfect.


Good for you. This is akin to me removing the workaholic self from the driver’s seat. It’s a great feeling.

Robot avatar images lovingly delivered by
therealbrandonwilson  •  23 Sept 2022, 12:58 pm

Thanks Brandon! Now to repeat the same performance twice to make it stick

jasonleow  •  24 Sept 2022, 8:14 am