There is frequent debate about what constitutes a workaholic, and there is an old saying that says, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” When we see someone who steadfastly pursues a goal, we may consider them to be passionate. Or, are they being self-interested? Which is more accurate? Can you be too single-minded in your approach to life or a career?
I don’t believe I have the right to judge which behaviors are good, bad, workaholic, or passionate. However, I do know that most accomplished people, those you want to be around or follow, usually have broad knowledge and experiences to go along with their passion.
Let’s take a look at ways you can become well rounded in your life. I recently took a 3-week trip to Spain and had a wonderful time. Great scenery and great food; wonderful people! I will have plenty of fond memories of this trip, especially the many areas we passed through over a 9-day bicycle trip. Despite the rain, it was still thoroughly enjoyable and remarkable on many fronts.
Beyond the great memories and photo spots, however, I think back on the wonderful things I learned about the history and culture of Spain, and how I grew in my own capabilities. How did that happen?
One, I opened myself to learning a new language. Before the trip I knew only a smattering of Spanish, or more specifically Castilian, the language of most of Spain. I learned a lot of vocabulary but did not have a lot of chance to speak it. I learned fast once I arrived, even though nearly everyone in Spain knows way more English than I do Spanish. That method of learning worked well when we were in Madrid and surrounding areas. Little did I initially know that in Barcelona, in the Catalonia region, the principal language is Catalan, which is closer to French.
Two, I encountered new geography and new food and new ways of running businesses.
Three, transportation is different, even better than I'm used to. The train from Madrid to Barcelona traveled over 300 kmph, which equates to 180 mph, and was nice and smooth, and a great experience.
Four, freeing my mind from my work-a-day worries and problem solving, I opened myself up to new experiences and learning. I even found myself beginning to understand a little modern art after visits to the Prado (Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid), and the Salvador Dali (in Figueres) and Joan Mior (in Barcelona) museums.
Bottom line: Whether you are a workaholic or just passionate, I urge you to change the pace, see the world, do different things to develop more knowledge of yourself and make your life and yourself more interesting.
Executive Coach and Career Counselor
follow Mark @RMarkYoungblood