Stop Being A “Hero”!

by Paul Castain on September 21, 2012

I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I have worked with who are slowly burning themselves out at work because they think somewhere its written that they’re supposed to.

I kid you not!

I know of people who are sticking around the office after 5:00 not because there’s important stuff to do but because they think it just looks better to still be in the office.

I know of others who continue working through the weekend because they think it looks bad if they let it go until Monday.

How about those people who are on their phones and email at their kids soccer game or . . .

The dude/dudette with a chronic case of “I gotta take this call” during meals and conversations.

And if you really want to see how pathetic things have become . . . go to a public restroom and see how many people are taking  calls while taking a . . . well you get the picture.

I know we all have to kick ass . . . that’s what we do!

I know we all have to do what we need to do but . . .

This is the kind of sh*t that heart attacks are made of.

It just isn’t worth it!

You and I need to slow down and in order to do so . . .

Need clearly established “out of bounds markers” like . . .

When you will and when you won’t take calls

Is there a “hard stop” time each day when you shift from conquering the world of business to conquering the world at home!

Will you allow technology to pull up a chair at your table or a stall in the bathroom?

Pardon me for a little repetition but . . .

Someday we will all cross a finish line.

Perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to have a few million in each hand but . . .

If the people who are dearest to us are no longer in our lives and . . .

We lost out on some awesome memories (think “Cat’s In The Cradle”)

Then I believe we’ve actually FAILED and if by chance you think that you can get to this business of living your life SOMEDAY then just keep in mind that you might not be on that 85 or 90 year plan that you thought you had.


Today’s News . . .

It’s been several month’s since we’ve had a webinar and this one comes as a result of several requests. Next month we’ll be launching a two part course on Time Management and one thing is for certain . . . I’ll be attacking this topic in a very different way than you might be used to. For more information click here!


    o.k. paul, you caught me. have used the blackberry in the men’s room and probably worse, right in the middle of a vacation day. good thoughts. right on the nose. have a great weekend. you will be happy to know that i was listening to “e street radio” instead of fox business on the way into work.

  • paulcastain

    I’ve been guilty as well Lou!

    There have been times when I know, definitively, that the world will end in that instant that I don’t check the email that just came in :)

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  • Anonymous

    Paul, spot on -guilty. a client and friend of mine had a mini-stroke Friday. He is partially paralyzed in his face. He goes B**lls to the walls everyday and has a second business to keep him busy nights and weekends…this was a wake up call for him..diabetes, overweight, high blood pressure, but never would slow down to take care of himself. Wake up call for me to. I have a grandbaby and another on the way. I want to be around to see them grow up. Thanks my man.

  • paulcastain

    Sorry to hear about your friend Jim.

    This type of thing happens all to often and its so unnecessary.

    Making memories with those grand babies is a great choice Jim!

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts my friend!

  • Marc Zazeela

    Paul – Man, have you got it right. I make a point of drawing a well defined line in the sand. Work is work and play is play and the two shall never be confused.

    So many people are so important that they have to be on all the time. Once you have conditioned your customers/employer/counterparts to your “on all the time” mentality, they will exploit it at any and every possible time. Condition them to understand you are on 100% during business hours and that is when they will choose to contact you.

    I have seen so many bright stars burn out because they were all on all the time. Great performers but short lived careers.


  • Elizabeth Stewart

    I guess I’m busted on several of those accounts. Working on making time for friends, family, my dog, and yes, even myself post 5 pm M-F. Thanks for reminding me that it is ok to do so!

  • paulcastain

    Absolutely Marc.

    We’ve all come to expect this crazy idea of “immediacy” in our business.

    At some point the brakes need to be put on before life does it for us!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Marc and have an awesome weekend!

  • paulcastain

    Now that’s the spirit Elizabeth . . . let’s enjoy this limited time we have here!

  • Adam

    Great post Paul. I am pretty good at unplugging while on vacation — but usually that has more to do with the fact their is no internet available and cell reception is spotty at best.

    I do see people who stress about getting stuff done on weekends, etc. And they seem to be stressed 24/7 never really enjoying themselves. To me this means you are giving yourself and your body no time to relax and this can’t be good in the long run. These same people seem to struggle with unwinding when they do have downtime, vacations, etc. so i really don’t know when they get to enjoy themselves.

    Great business and health advice Paul!

  • JJ

    Busted. Told a client yesterday they could call me on my cell, though I would be at my daughter’s curriculum night. Pending deal. Everyone involved is antsy about it closing. …and I’m a recruiter, so literally someone’s livelihood/job is on the line. Whether I close this matters. Time is of the essence, can’t lose momentum. The problem is…when is it NOT this way? I can justify it for this deal…but then there is also the last deal, and the one before that etc. I think it is part of what makes me good at what I do, but definitely the lack of balance is a CONSTANT struggle.

  • Traci Walters

    Unless you are a Realtor.

    One of my best friends is a self-employed real estate agent. He is on, 24/7, almost literally. If he is not sleeping, he’s on call. His M-F, 9-5, is spent mostly on paperwork, contracts, negotiations, computer research, Inspections, valuations, etc., and then nights and weekends are spent with buyers and/or sellers because that’s when they are off and have time for the Realtor. Yes, he does take occasional ‘time off’, but if a client calls, he drops everything and gives them his undivided attention. He has to right? Otherwise that person who really can’t (or won’t) comprehend or appreciate what he does, may just call the other Realtor on the sign, because he wasn’t available right then and there when they wanted to see that house.

    I really admire him, and his profession. I am looking forward to some downtime on Saturday, and football on Sunday. He will be hosting an open house Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and driving around Buyers to look at houses after that. Oh well, at least there are once again Buyers!

    Have you hugged your Realtor lately?
    :) Traci

  • Adam Metz

    Traci, working 24/7 is not admirable or effective. It simply means that your friend has chosen not to automate much of his sales and marketing, and is making less money than other realtors and working harder to do so because he has made that choice.

  • Traci Walters


  • Barb Giamanco

    Though I have more latitude today, because I own the business, but even in my Microsoft days, I set boundaries.

    You have to. People will always want something from you, because it is about their agenda. You have to determine what’s most important to you and work around those things.

    And is the deal really that important if your kids see your body at the soccer game but know you really aren’t there emotionally to support them? Which has the greater impact on them and to the happiness you feel about you life in the long run? We have lost sight of being fully present.

    I can and do ignore incoming calls if I have important client work to be done.

    If calling you back in fours means that I lost a deal because you were impatient and moved on to someone else, so be it. You weren’t a good client for me anyway.

    Paul – at the heart of your message, I believe, is about setting priorities. I mean, seriously, you have to have a conversation with someone while on the john? We’ve become a society of people more caught up to “responding” to what other people want instead of focusing on those things most important to us in our lives.

    Unplugging is good for your health, your family and your friends and frankly, unwinding means you’ll ultimately be BETTER at contributing at work.

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