Can I be successful in my career and still have time for my life?

I am a podcaster, speaker and author in the area of self-leadership: the intentional act of creating your freedom, your life, your way.

March 16, 2022

While working with sales professionals the last 20 years, I’ve seen a problem over and over:

As performance in sales goes up, the demand for more work and more achievement goes up. Between the dedication to high achievement and performance excellence, schedules fill up, and there is less and less time to be present and effective in personal lives.

Sales professionals feel like there is never enough time, and as they run out of time for people and activities they care about, they feel like they are not able to be their best. They simply run out of time and feel like there is no sensible way out.


They often feel like they have to compromise, cutting a little time here, squeezing some email and texts in there, but then not being totally present with their friends and loved ones, who, after a while can feel resentful. Sometimes the compromise is neglect – not showing up at all or abdicating things that deserve better effort.

The demands of a high-achieving career are often beyond normal business hours. Sometimes it’s going the extra mile. Sometimes it’s being on-call or available to support the team on a critical project or delivery. Sometimes it’s supporting partners or customers in a jam. It’s doing what needs to be done to do a great job.

This often puts the squeeze on personal life:

One by one, the compromises pile up.

We work out a little less.

We opt for convenient but unhealthy eating.

We have less time for the kids or pets.

We coordinate with our spouse to get things done but hardly more than watching a sitcom for “us” time.

And time for yourself? Yeah, right.

Often, work is so draining (even when we love it) that there is no energy left for hobbies, social events, or even a round of golf. It’s easier to sit on the couch and do nothing.

For some the weekends become time just to catch up, rest a little, clean and organize a little, work on the to-do list, and watch some TV. Toward the end of Sunday, the dread of Monday bubbles up, and the weekend feels over even before it is. Then it’s back to work.

After experiencing this pattern for a while, we start to wonder:

“Is this all there is?”

“I’m planning my retirement, but I can’t imagine this is my life for the next 15-25 years.”

“What happened to the things I used to do? Happy hours with friends? Working out? Traveling? Fishing?”

“What happened to my dreams? Do I have to wait for retirement before I can live my life?”

“What really are my dreams? Are they even possible anymore?”

“I feel so out of touch with myself that I don’t know what my dreams are anymore.”

We set out to change our lives, to make things different, but doubts and questions arise.

“If I focus more on life, then will I be able to do my best at work?  Will I be able to advance to new opportunities?”

“If I do my best at work or want to advance, it takes even more time away from home.”

It feels like a Catch-22.  And we feel like there is no way out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the following:

“I’ve tried many ideas, but they haven’t worked. Anything I try is an opportunity cost – I could just invest the time with my family instead of working on another approach that takes me away from them.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.

This newsletter is for sales professionals who love being a high achiever but so far have been unable to transfer that success into their personal lives.

This quagmire is a common problem for sales professionals, and I know this from coaching them for 20 years. I know from my own experience the challenges of being a high achiever, loving it, and wondering how to make it all work.

You’re not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with you. If it were easy, you would have already solved it. It took me many years, and for the many sales professionals I know who have solved it, they know how you feel, and it wasn’t easy for them either.

In this newsletter, we will explore the challenges and solutions to creating a full, rewarding life without sacrificing your career success. We will continue next issue with the 5 most common mistakes sales professionals make while trying to solve this problem.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you subscribe so we can support you along your journey. In the meantime, if you want to learn more, follow me on LinkedIn, and you can also get more from me on my podcast, The UnYielded Show: Thriving No Matter What (Interviews on Wednesdays) and UnYielded: Rise and Thrive (10-minute success tips on Mondays).

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