The Myth of Killing Yourself to Have it All

Do we have to drown in obligations before we can realize our goals?

Have you heard the term “limiting beliefs” before? In case you haven’t, limiting beliefs (as I understand them) are beliefs that you hold — usually unconsciously — that keep you held back, tied down, or otherwise stuck. Examples of limiting beliefs might be “I can’t be a leader,” “I don’t deserve a corner office,” or “Good people never pay their bills late.”

I realized recently that I have a limiting belief that goes something like “In order to succeed professionally, I have to put aside my health and well-being and prove my worth by working extremely hard, always responding to emails immediately, and taking any work that comes my way.” Do you have beliefs like that, too? I’m not sure it has to be that way, and the more I read about the research being done on productivity and energy levels, the less I believe it.

Why have so many of us, myself included, bought into this belief that the hallmark of a hard worker is someone who is chained to email, malnourished, and exhausted all the time? Who would we be if we didn’t have this “I’m so overworked” identity to cling to? It’s been scary, but I’m making time in my life for more rest, introspection, and health, and I think it’s paying off. I’m saying “no” to the overworked identity and trying a new one on: one that is vibrant, colorful, and with very clear boundaries.

What limiting beliefs keep you held back? Which identities do you cling to in order to feel worthy and valuable?

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