Work Hard/Play Hard: Why it Works

Work-hard, play-hard. This was the unspoken motto of the small liberal-arts college I attended in the late 90’s. Sunday afternoon through Thursday afternoon, it seemed nearly every student on campus could be found studying feverishly in the library. It was such a well-inhabited place, that the main floor of the building was known as “the dance floor”. BUT, come Thursday night, those same kids who obsessed over organic chemistry papers or teacher’s aide plans just 24 hours earlier, were suddenly found wilin’ out like a bunch of Amish kids on their rumschpringe!

I mean: we worked hard and played hard. It was a weekly commitment to excellence and having a riotously good time. By Sunday afternoon, though, we were all back to our library as if we hadn’t spent the night before dancing wildly.

Now - almost 20 years after graduating from that highly competitive little college - I see why that formula of work hard / play hard is so successful: it brings about a balance of energies; it commands that - energetically - like goes to like. It requires that we commit to ourselves on the same level professionally as we do personally.

But - let’s be real - it’s easy to get caught up in work. There’s so much to do, so much pressure to achieve, so much oversight from bosses and leadership. Hell, some of us spend more time at work than we do at home. So, by the time we hit that couch, it’s like: byyyyyyeeee!

Who the heck has time or desire to play hard after a stressful work day? Committed people with a vision do, that’s who. Fitness fanatics, gamers, artists, super-parents, yogis, social butterflies, mediation-and-vision-board-planning fans, avid readers, faith-based folks. All of these wonderful people - and many more - have a REASON for getting out and living after a long day at work. I admit: I am usually not one of these people, unless a bike ride in spring or fall is involved. Nope, I’m a Netflix + snacks girl, but I admire these committed folks and do my best to live at their level because I see how refreshed and successful they are when they put as much energy into their personal lives as they do their professional.

This is a real formula for success: for as much energy as you put into being successful at work, put just as much into being successful personally.

If you’re coasting at work, it’s fine to coast in life - because that’s the same energy flow from one end of your life to the other. It’s balanced, so it works. But, if you’re pushing hard in either direction and NOT committing the same level of energy to the other side, you’ll soon learn it’s not sustainable, and you, one or both of your goals will suffer for it.

Whatever you do, do it all the way. A friend recently asked me what mental block I had broken through to achieve the high level of success I’m experiencing at the moment. I thought about it and realized that the real answer is that I’m “in” 100%. I’m taking action, doing the work in all areas of my life...and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I wish the same for you, my friend!