This week I went to a women’s forum about gender stereotypes and success in the workplace. I heard three amazing women tell their stories about their career path and how they thrived in typical male roles. It wasn’t easy, but each had found success although they’d made several mistakes along the way.
All of the stories were different, but they all gave the same advice:
– If you do what you love, it isn’t work (I am still not sure I buy that 100% of the time, sometimes you just want your jammies and a good movie).
– Always go after your dreams and follow your instincts.
– Find a mentor, be a mentor. Don’t underestimate the value of learning from the experience of those that have gone before you and be sure to share what you know.
– It’s ok to show emotion in the workplace, women are built differently than men. It happens, don’t make a big deal out of it and move on.
– Women have to take better care of themselves.
It is all good advice, but as it’s been a common theme in this blog, the last one stood out to me. I can’t remember who quoted the Arianna Huffington and her commencement speech at Smith College on getting enough sleep, but it started a long discussion. Every woman seemed to echo the sentiment, especially for moms. They talked about consequences from making bad decisions at work to falling asleep behind the wheel. Someone pointed out that Bill Clinton has admitted that most of the mistakes that he made were because he was too tired.
For some reason, lack of sleep seems to be a bragging point. “I only slept for 4 hours last night” or “I never need to sleep”. I am an 8-hours-a-night kind of girl. I can’t always get what I need, but I function best on 8 hours. The question is – why is surviving on less, taking advantage of our body’s good nature and generally abusing ourselves considered a good thing? Why doesn’t our society reward the person who says “my body is all I have, so I’m going to take the best care possible, eat the best, get annual checkups and sleep”. Instead, I find that these people are looked on as “babies” who can’t “tough it out”, as if functioning with (unnecessary) added stress makes someone a better person. Blechhh.
Someday I want to reach the levels of these women – at the top of my game in my chosen field – and I don’t want to sacrifice my health to do it. (One of the speakers was convinced that her cancer was caused by her exhausting and stressful lifestyle) So, instead of trying to add more hours into the day, I’ll try to make the hours that I’m awake more productive. And sleep my way to the top. Starting now. With nap.
How do you make sure to take care of yourself? What are you sleep habits? Would you change them if you could?