"You Americans - You Work Too Hard."

My trainer is Australian.

I work out with him three days a week. He makes me lift really fucking heavy weights and push heavy things around. I was training with him two days a week, but I recently ramped it up to three because I feel accomplished after having lifted weight and know I will later feel it in my thighs, ass and lats.

But September was a very busy month for me. I took on a new role at work, and found myself quickly jumping into the deep end and having to remember how to tread water - let alone swim a little.  There was also quite a bit of travel. And having been out of the travel mode for a while now, I was exhausted. And not eating properly. Or having time to fit in a yoga class.

"What did you eat while away?" he asked me.

If I ate, it was usually red meat and red wine. Or a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. That's it. I tried to consume lots of water. But that was difficult. And I was up all hours working on stuff and just trying to stay on top of emails. So my sleep patterns were destroyed.

But I knew it was "short-term pain." So powering through was something I knew would be worthwhile. And it was.. Because stuff needed to get done. And resources were thin and schedules were packed. But my trainer just didn't get it.

"You Americans work too hard," he said.

I think most of us wouldn't dare disagree with him. Not because he can deadlift almost 500 pounds. But because he is absolutely right. We work hard and long because that's how we've mostly accepted that is how our culture operates. And I'm fine with that.

Really, I am.

I thought traveling around the world and exposing myself to other cultures would help me lose that anxious, paranoid, "what am I failing to do and what am I missing out on" feeling. But the whole time I was traveling, I found myself thinking about what my next role would be. I almost took freelance work while I was traveling - not because I needed it... But because I was programmed that way. The fear of, "What if I turn this down and never get another job?"

Silly, I know. But if there is one thing I am really afraid of, it's being bored. I will always be able to make enough money to survive. But being bored? That frightens me even more than clowns do. And it's that fear of boredom that has made my life a continuous segue into new roles and new opportunities.


Earlier this week I gave a lecture at the UCSD business school to a bunch of MBA students about how the best digital marketers are the ones who are the most curious. I called it, "Using Innate Curiosity to Drive the Consumer Journey." I had 40 students sign up to hear me. And all 40 seemed to show. The room was full.

I explained how I don't really consider myself a "digital marketer", but just a curious person who likes to tell stories. And with the amount of data I can access around a particular brand's audience, I can get a good understanding of what the audience is interested in, the format they want to see it in, and how likely they are to share it with their friends and connections.

"I use that data to craft everything... Long term and short term content opportunities and campaigns. I can figure out which channels to tap into in order to deliver my message effectively. And that's why I've been in this business for 12 years - despite attempting to leave and take a few sabbaticals. It's the one role that helps fulfill that curios nature in me. Even though it sometimes means burning myself out in moments."

So my trainer was right. THIS American does work too hard.  But I have gotten better about purging and making way for fresh air. After all my travels and breaks... I've realized that working hard and putting in 50 hours a week (not counting commuting time) is better for me than being bored.

Now to go off to start crafting a new project...