We live in a world where "hustle" & "grind" are glorified. Even worse is that we have morphed the meanings of these words to seem "not-so-bad." By formal definition, there is nothing positive in either of these words when it comes to business. I'll allow you the time to look them up & draw your own conclusions.
In that same vein, we label ourselves as "workaholics" to justify our behavior. Despite the proven damage the behavior does to us & our relationships, the word itself is broadcast as justification. If we are measuring by formal definitions, workaholic means "a person who works compulsively at the expense of other pursuits." You can find that at dictionary.com.
The key metric is to determine what "other pursuits" mean to you. The easy path is to make it mean other business opportunities or hobbies. We all know that, most often, the sacrifice for being a workaholic is relationships. You become a poor spouse, parent or friend as a result of your workaholic behavior. But that is NOT the worst of it.
Being a workaholic can kill you.
The most important factor in someone choosing to be a workaholic is fear. Fear of failure is the leading reason that people will sacrifice their life for potential success. I believe this is followed closely by a lost sense of self-worth. We put our worth in our work instead of our being. Our perceived value is in what we accomplish not who we are. This will lead to constant feelings of dissatisfaction.
What does this do to your body?
According to Psychology Today, this is the root of acute anxiety & stress. The two things that create a stiff posture. The movements become "robotic" & this path leads to chronic back problems. The left brain thinking is overworked & the right brain feeling is under acknowledged. Workaholics have to do what needs to be done despite their full brains processing patterns. It is very much a forceful existence that impacts the physical body.
"...workaholics remain unaware of the increases in the amount of adrenalin that is being pumped into their body. Dr. Archibald Hart, in his book, The Hidden Link Between Adrenalin and Stress, lists the effects of elevated adrenalin over a period of time: an increase in the production of blood cholesterol; a narrowing of the capillaries and other blood vessels that can shut down the blood supply to the heart muscle; a decrease in the body’s ability to remove cholesterol; an increase in the blood’s tendency to clot; and an increase in the depositing of plaque on the walls of the arteries. (p. 21)"
A sure sign of workaholism is taught facial features, crossed arms & other defensive postures. Chronic fatigue feeds depression & is common in workaholics. This is a results of the constant pumping of adrenaline. Coffee, energy drinks or other stimulants feed the fatigue & elevate the, potential, depression. This road is long & there are many indications that suicide is common among the outcomes of being a workaholic.
The laundry list of symptoms in workaholics may or may not be detrimental to your health. Just like the formal definitions we spoke of earlier, I don't see anything positive as I research what it means to be overworked, operate in fear & suppress your right brain function. In fact, it is quite alarming as to the likely outcomes.
Heart attacks, strokes, death. The brain will create a false reality that leads to a psychotic trait that creates delusion. The result, often, being suicide. That stems, most often, from the shame accumulated from an inevitable failure in business or life that we all experience at one point. The stories are endless of the high level CEO who takes their life after the company imploded or they got fired. Their identity was the job not them as people.
As the season of entrepreneurship grows & more young people want to pursue the business path, we have to consider why? Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why do we fear failure & savor accolades so much? Is there a better way? The answer is "yes."
The truth is in the data. Science & research show that, if you are a workaholic, you will not improve your life. The results don't indicate that you, eventually, become happy. Your marriage isn't magically fixed at the next income bracket or the promotion or the book release. Everything points to an early departure from the very life you are trying so hard to create if you don't take the time to slow down, enjoy the ride & breathe a little.