Because of my workaholic tendencies, I have been enamored with the idea of being “effective,” “productive,” and “successful” for as long as I can remember. It hasn’t brought the contentment that I once thought it would.
So, when I ran across this phrase in a book title recently, I began to wonder. Did I miss the boat? Is there something about effectiveness that fascinates the highly-driven? Is this just a cultural thing? Is being effective a practice that I should avoid?
What I have experienced so far is that I filled every minute of productivity that I created with something else “important” that “needed” to be done.
I decided to check some definitions:
“successful in producing a desired or intended result”
This was the first entry, which means it’s the most commonly used meaning of the word. This is how my workaholism interprets effectiveness. Make things happen. Control events. Produce more than anyone else. This is the definition that has driven me most of my life, but hasn’t produced the things I truly desired.
“fulfilling a specified function in fact, though not formally acknowledged as such”
To me, this definition has possibilities. It calls for self-reflection before action. What is my “function” in life? The more I mature, the more I’m convinced it’s relationships. If I want to leave a legacy, it’s not going to be in my job titles, the size of my bank accounts, or the number of belongings I can accumulate. My legacy is going to be in the difference I made for the good in the lives of the people I touched.
Maybe there’s a chance for me to be an effective person, after all.