Are you a workaholic? How do you even define that?  Many intuitive women leaders have workaholic tendencies and are unknowingly being driven by relationship patterns that started when they were a child.  Pushing themselves hard and feeling tired and worn out has become an automatic habit they no longer question.
If you’re like most people, right away your conscious mind (a/k/a EGO) will jump in and claim, “And what if I am?” If you suspect you are a workaholic, have you ever wondered how it got started? 
How did your parents role model work ethic and trust for you? You may be surprised how the early foundation of our relationships affects our need to succeed and work so much.  Do you want to continue to be a workaholic? This blog seeks to answer those questions and also give you some signs of workaholism as well as where to go from here.

I have a free class coming up to help support you in stopping this workaholic pattern and to really begin to live fully alive. See below to register. I am here to support you.

9 Signs a Woman Leader May Be a Workaholic

Workaholic Defined

Like any words ending in “holic,” such as alcoholic,  shopaholic, chocoholic, etc., they imply an excess of something.  In addition, if one feels out of control around the desired object or behavior, they’re probably addicted.
In this case we’re talking working.  So I define a workaholic as someone who works excesively and feels out of control about it. If they could snap their fingers and be another way, they would. The reason they want to shift the habit is because it’s harming themselves and others.
Caveat: This blog is not for folks who work a ton of hours and don’t see it’s a problem (though their family would probably disagree).  In order to change a behavior, one must see that it’s a hurtful habit.

Workaholic: Addicted or Admired?

I am intimately aware of my own workaholic tendencies and can speak to this topic honestly. I learned early on to not trust people and so played it safe in a numbers proession like accounting for many years. Staying in control of myself and others was an automatic reaction to a difficult childhood.
I’ve been reading this daily reader called “Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much,” for years.  Workaholism is a real addiction that will lead to the destruction of meaningful, healthy relationships unless we arrest it. And it certainly reduces our joy and happiness.
Here’s the thing. Many people wear workaholism like a badge of honor.  After all, hard work is a highly-praised value in the Western world. There is a fine line between seeking excellence with our work and being a workaholic.  Only YOU can be sure if it’s a problem or not.

9 Signs a Woman Leader May Be a Workaholic

What are some signs that workaholism is negatively affecting you and others around you?

  1. Do you feel guilty that you prefer doing tasks over spending time with people you love?
  2. Are you uncomfortable being intimate with others (in other words, you don’t let others get too close to you)?
  3. Do you avoid deeper connection with others because you fear they’ll hurt and disappoint you?
  4. Is work your “comfort zone?
  5. Do you stay at work to avoid difficult relationships at home?
  6. Does someone close to you complain that you don’t make enough time for them?
  7. What impact is working long hours having on your significant relationships?
  8. What effect is excess work having on your health?
  9. Do you allow yourself vacations or adequate down time to recharge your battery?
This list isn’t all inclusive, but hopefully it gives you an idea if there is something here for you to explore further.  I can live life on auto pilot and not dig deeper into my habits and why they started. So can you.  As long as we don’t look into our habits of thought and being, we will stay unconscious.  And we will remain a slave to those habits.

Origins of Being a Workaholic

Parents Role Model Work Ethic 

How did your parents role model work for you? Personally, both of my parents have workaholic tendencies. My dad was always working, and when he wasn’t working at work, he worked at his hobbies. He tended to his horses, showed them, took care of them, etc.  He rarely sat down to dinner or TV or conversation with the family. To this day, he is not a fan of conversation.

My mom always had a job too.  And when she got home, she’d cook dinner, do laundry, do yardwork, etc.  She also carted us around town, taking us to the swimming pool, movies, shopping, and so forth.  She has slowed down as of today, but she still highly values tasks. 
Both of my parents value tasks more than connection. My mom loves hanging out with our family, don’t get me wrong. However, her comfort zone is tasks and getting things done.

Parents Role Model Lack of Trust/Intimacy

Most people are not comfortable communicating how they think and feel. In fact, I’d say 20% or less of the population is comfortable with this type of intimacy.  We simply weren’t taught how to be authentically US.
Just the opposite is our real experience.  We were taught to try very hard to hide who we are.  As a result, it feels gross and threatening to divulge our true self. We actually expect people to read our minds. When they can’t and they make false assumptions about what we want, we get angry and blame them.  It doesn’t bode well for our relationships.

We Wear A Mask

You may be wondering what not courageously speaking our truth has to do with being a workaholic.  If we weren’t taught to honestly express all emotions and thoughts, and healthily release the negative emotions, we wear a mask.  People don’t know the real us.
They don’t know who we really are, and we don’t know them either unless they are one of the rare, direct communicators.  This hurts authentic relationship because we hold grudges and resentments when others “step on a landmine.” In other words, stepping on a landmine means they offended us because they inadvertently violated one of our unspoken values or boundaries.
When this happens, relationships crumble.  And one day, when we least expect it, they explode on us.  The blindside. We feel hurt and shocked, “How could they?! I’ve always been so nice to them.”
When we’ve been taught to hide the communication of our heart, we wear a mask. We don’t reveal who we truly are, because we don’t trust people. Intimacy (in-to-me-see) with another human being feels scary and unapproachable.

We Put a Wall Around Our Heart

So what do we do instead? We unconsciously decide that we won’t trust others with our heart.  We put up a block or wall.  We reject others before they have a chance to reject us. We reject them by not letting them know us and then getting mad when they can’t please us.
Is this making sense?  Where do we put our energy? We put it into working, tasks, over-achievement because it feels safer than people.  
Hopefully you now have an idea if you’re a workaholic. If so, you understand yourself a little better because you can see how the workaholic pattern started. 

How Can You Stop Being a Workaholic?

1. Know yourself. Set an intention to get to know yourself better.Even though you may have craved being heard and understood your whole life, the only person who can do this is YOU.
   a. To do this, get curious about your behavior
       and feedback received from others who 
       don’t want to hurt you, but are your allies.
   b. There is always at least 10% truth in the
        constructive criticism we get from others.

2. Forgive yourself. You didn’t create these habits to hurt you or others. They developed out of a need to survive, to protect yourself. So be gentle on yourself when becoming self-aware.

3. Love yourself. You don’t control what others think of you, but you can begin to see yourself in a compassionate, loving light. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Be your own loyal coach or cheerleader…your own Loving Self-Advocate, as I like to say.

4. Trust yourself.  When you are kinder to yourself, miraculous things happen.
   a. You feel a greater sense of self-worth.
   b. You invite authentic connection as you’re no
        longer the doormat and sacrificing your needs for
        theirs.
   c. Because you are now trusting yourself, you   
       “project” that same reality onto others. 
        Hmmm….maybe THEY are trustworthy too.

5. Be yourself. When the trust between you and others is re-established, you allow yourself to be you and them to be them. This is how relationships get repaired.

       
6. Free yourself. You are no longer chained to harmful habits that disconnect you from others.  You are now free to pursue intimacy.  Work less. Relate more.

 

The Foundation of a Happy Life is Happy Relationships

Work is important too, especially when we are passionate about our purpose in the world. But even fulfilling work has much to do with the state of our relationships.  Healthy, loving relationships that hold and support us feel like snuggling up in a warm, plush blanket on a cold winter’s night.  It’s luxurious.

Free Masterclass Coming Up

Are you missing out on the safety and comfort of nurturing relationships because you’ve been immersed in workaholism?  If you’d like to get out of this cold loop of disconnection, I invite you to attend my free, upcoming class, “3 Steps to Expand Your Potential: Clearing Barriers to Your Success as a Rising Woman Leader.”
Being successful has a lot to do with slowing down and creating thriving relationships.  I hope you’ll join me!
Much Love,
Angie Monko,
Life Coach for Intuitive Women Leaders