The Misconception of Your Greatest Achievement

As creatives, we always have this struggle with balancing life with work. There’s a thin line where the two are greyed, as Trent Walton points out, and if we aren’t careful, we can lose site of what is really important.

Someone posted in the comments of that post a good question:

…What if work bled into life…and we actually let life bleed into work too. What if they weren’t separate. – Rogie

What if, indeed. After reading Trent’s post, it got me thinking.

Why do we have this struggle of work/life balance in the first place? 

You don’t have to be married or have your own family to feel the struggle of the work/life balance, but it is considerably more difficult when your responsible for more than just yourself. For me, I have always had the desire to produce amazing content, and actually have an impact in the world of design.

And this isn’t just me. Every single person feels this tug to greatness. And it’s not just because we are designers, but because (for most of us, but definitely not all) we are men. We desire to build and to create and to accomplish. We desire greatness. 

And so that desire pulls and tugs at us constantly. We think of better ways to make this or that, or to design this new product or logo. We are always thinking of new ideas, and groundbreaking thought patterns. It’s just who we are, and who I believe God made us to be.

A Perspective Shift

But as I’ve started to grow in the area of marriage, and have learned through the battles of self control when to say “no” to work, I’ve started to realize something.

We, who strive for greatness,
are already great.

I said once that “Your greatest achievement will always be your family.” And this is the greatest misconception in our industry–in particular, the internet. We associate greatness and accomplishment by the volume of recognition, and so it only makes sense that our family is at the bottom of our list.

The only ones that feel the effect of our accomplishment are our wives and maybe 2 or 3 kids. That’s 4 people. 

In terms of volume, it doesn’t quite match to some of the design giants of our time, who find value in their Twitter followers, or their popularity on Dribbble.

But it’s sadly misguided and empty.

While getting that attention is great, and I even struggle with its temptation on a daily basis, it is no match for the value that can only come from those closest to you.

So shifting from work to life shouldn’t be so hard. After all, we devote the most time to the “product” we find the most fulfillment in. If we believed that our families were the greatest achievement that we have, and ever will, accomplish, then the struggle would become the blessing.

If you’re wondering where you find value, just look at where your thoughts always are.