Fantastic post on the futility of grind culture by Erin Gallagher (via LinkedIn) that resonates so strongly:

Hustle and grind culture is dead. Because so many of us have realized that time is not guaranteed. And we’ve decided that our lives are worth living.

We are a culture obsessed with inputs: Research. Consumption. Validation.

We are a capitalistic society focused on outputs: Hustle. Grind. Burnout.

We are a human race desperately in need of stay-puts: Presence. Stillness. Rest.

On a panel last week, I was asked to talk about “grind culture.” Here’s what I shared:

The definition of “grind” is: to reduce something to small particles by crushing it; hard, dull work. Why would we ever want to knowingly do that to ourselves or others? When you grind something, you break it. Literally. Metaphorically. Spiritually. Anyone who asks that you prove your worth through struggle, distress and busyness doesn’t value you. Period. Full stop.

In October of 2021, NYT reporter Lindsay Crouse wrote a piece about “Martyrdom to Grit.” It was inspired by Simone Biles “quitting” the Olympics. Quitting is such a complicated term… and it’s undergone a lot of pejoration over time. So many people who are “quitting” for the best, right, healthiest reasons are gaslit into believing that they gave up, didn’t try hard enough, refused to care.

It’s quite the opposite. Quitting toxic people and places is the beginning of committing to yourself and a better life. The opposite of selfless isn’t selfish. It’s self-care.

We are told we’re “opting out,” when we never opted in.

I want you to read a message I received from a colleague when I began to…

  • reclaim my time
  • prioritize my physical, mental and psychological health
  • address my overwhelming burnout
  • stop abandoning myself in service to others

“I am low on empathy as it seems all has been centered on you and none on us and the business. I am frustrated, burned out, feeling every bit as disrespected by your choosing to opt out and frankly scared and sad. So please - take some time, sort out your priorities…. meanwhile the rest of us will keep things moving.”

Don’t ever let anyone tell you who you are. Ever.

Two months after I received that email, I was admitted to the hospital and given two liters of fluids in addition to a multitude of intravenous drugs. It’s what happened when…

  • I didn’t listen to my intuition
  • I didn’t take care of myself
  • I let other people (incorrectly) tell me who I was and what I was worth

Here’s the lesson:

“The only people who get upset when you start setting boundaries are the ones who benefited from you not having them.”

This is your life. This is your time. This is your story. Take back your power.