Now is the Perfect Time to Stop: Reframing Workaholism

This is part of my ongoing LinkedIn Series: Ten Tips for Ten Days, you can read more and watch the one-minute video at the bottom of this post.

Perfectionism's other face: Workaholism

The Workaholism form of Perfectionism is driven by a false value system that says that you are what you do.

Workaholism claims that all of your value as a person is derived from what you produce, that you aren’t valuable without production, and that you can earn love by your performance.

If it cannot trap you in this lie, it goes for the more subtle, “I’m too busy.” Workaholics are always too busy; too busy to try new things, to take risks, or to rest. Rather than owning their lives, they allow their projects to drive them into the ground.

Another form of Workaholism is Hero Complex. Because they appear to be stronger, more capable or committed than everyone else around them, Workaholics can start thinking that they always have to step in and save the day for everyone at all times. They put pressure on themselves to always be the best or always available. Hero Complex Workaholics always seem busy and stressed out, but people who work from and for excellence actually have higher levels of productivity.

Workaholism are closed to innovation and creativity because working smarter rather than harder threatens their personal value system. Perfectionism demands that they constantly work to measure up since the bar is set so high.

Recalibrating Our Personal Value System

We must remember that our true talent, opportunities, and results come from God – He alone is our Source. He already loves us for who we are and we can never earn more love from Him through our performance. The Ultimate Creator has given you His creativity and He loves when you use it, no need to prove anything.

As human beings, we have inherent worth and value. Our families and communities want our attention and time more than they want us to produce results. If your community or family is results oriented or bases your acceptance on what you produce, you need to consider surrounding yourself with people who have a healthier perspective.

Excellence vs Perfection

Excellence is the antidote for Workaholism as well as Perfectionism. Excellence allows you to have a process: a beginning, middle, and end of each project. Excellence infuses grace into your life, giving you space for adventures, fun, rest, joy, and your best work. Perfectionism demands that everything to perfect every step of the way, while Excellence values the process.

Excellence does compel you toward doing your best work, but it comes from a place of love and acceptance rather than a place of striving for value. When we give ourselves space to learn, grow, make mistakes, and try new things, we will invariably become better at whatever we are trying to do. We will discover new ways of working that are faster and more effective. Excellence driven people can go home and enjoy their family at night knowing that they've done their best and can be free to rest. 

We get much more in depth into the differences between Excellence and Perfectionism in our book, Bright Ideas: Light Up Your Creativity. Check it out for more insights! 

Learning to Rest

Another key to overcoming Workaholism is learning to live from a place of rest. Rest is not just sleeping, it is a place of peace and assurance from which we can live our creative lives. Rest comes from believing that we are not lacking anything that we need to be creative, that we are loved for who we are (not what we can do), and that God loves our creativity.

Rest is a place of peace and groundedness inside ourselves that creates a steady foundation from which we can innovate, create, and do our best work. It is like taking a deep breath, settling the anxiety that Perfection can bring, and choosing to operate from a different place. 

Practical Tools to Combat Workaholism

  • Combat excessive busy work by giving yourself deadlines and taking small steps toward your big goals.
  • Intentionally find elegant, time saving solutions rather than throwing work into projects without efficiency.
  • Remember the big picture by keeping your Motivator front and central.

Choosing to replace Workaholism with love-driven excellence and purposeful rest frees you to operate in truly balanced creativity, without fear of failure. You may be surprised to find how productive you really are when you allow yourself to create from this mindset.

To read more about Workaholism, Perfectionism, and Excellence and get practical actions to help you grow in creativity check out our book or read additional these blog posts. 

Do you want to be more creative? Join our next class!


LinkedIn #TenTipsTenDays

I'm doing a series on LinkedIn this week called #TenTipsTenDays where you spend ten days giving a tip each day that relates to your field. I'm focusing, of course, on creativity. This is a super fun way to get the word out about what we do here at the Bright Ideas Collective and share a little creative wisdom with my LinkedIn crew.

If you haven't been on LinkedIn in a while, there's quite a party going on over there now. You should check it out! If you hop on, come find me and let's connect

If you want to be creative, or learn how to work through creative blocks, we have resources for you! You can buy the Bright Ideas Book, with practical actions to take ownership of your creative journey. Now, you can join the Bright Ideas Collective online community where we share and support each other in our journey to being more creative!