"There will be sleep enough in the grave." - Benjamin Franklin
Now, before you start rolling your eyes, hear me out. I love to sleep and I'm all for EVERYONE getting a solid 7-8 hours a night. I'm not here to tell you that unless you're able to live on 2 hours of sleep, you have no chance of living your dreams and/or being successful. Sorry gurus, but that's crap. I don't know about you, but day after day of sleep deprivation (intentional or not) makes it hard for me to even fake pleasant. So....that's not where I'm going with this.
I'm talking about the kind of sleep that we use as a distraction when the going gets tough or even when we feel success coming our way, but get ... well ... freaked out. The kind that lulls us away from our life's work for just an hour, then a day, and before we know it we've forgotten what was started. The kind that says, "you've worked hard - have a glass of wine and watch some t.v." I'll give you an example.
I worked with a woman once who told me that although she had been gung-ho when she started her home business, she was now finding it hard to focus on her work because she was worried about money. Sales were less than stellar and this was chipping away at her inspiration. Totally understandable. After some time, she joined an association for home business owners and thought the meetings would provide her with social interaction, networking opportunities and a chance to figure out how to deal with her frustrations. I thought this was a good idea until she told me that lesson 1 from her first meeting was "When you feel unproductive or frustrated, take a nap."
Did I hear that right? They were advising people that work from home, you know HOME where your bed is always accessible, to sleep when they feel bummed? That's far too tempting and, in my opinion, will only make matters worse. Why is it that when we're working on something for someone else, we'll always find a way to do it. We would never even consider going to a workplace and telling our boss "that report is too hard - I'm going to take a nap." Somehow though, when we're doing the really important work - you know, the stuff that we want to be remembered for - it's acceptable to lounge or sleep this time away. Why is someone else's work more important than our own work? More important than who we want to be in the world?
Now, while I don't believe in beating your head against a wall when you feel unproductive, I certainly wouldn't tell you to take a nap. One nap leads to another nap and before you know it you've developed a habit. (No, Seriously!) It's like masturbation for your mind - feels good for a while, but produces nothing. Go for a walk, take your laptop to the park, call someone for advice, but don't go to sleep!!! While I don't believe that greatness requires suffering, I do believe that it requires discipline. If you want something, you have to work for it - yes, even on the days that suck. Actually, ESPECIALLY on the days that suck. Following through on the less-than-perfect days is when you'll find out what you're really made of. Instead of writing them off as nap days, consider them "character-building" days. Kicking ass is way better than sleeping any day.
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Originally posted on Dames Who D.A.R.E

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