If you are ever in the unfortunate situation of finding yourself stranded in the middle of the ocean unexpectedly, you’re going to have two major goals.

  1. Stay afloat.
  2. Swim for safety.

The trick to these is that they need to be balanced. Swim as hard as possible, and you’ll get too tired to tread water. Tread water for as long as possible, and you won’t improve the likelihood of reaching shore or getting rescued, and will undoubtedly drown in the long-term.

Leaving the realm of paranoid snorkeling nightmares for a moment, this balance is equally applicable when you feel like you’re drowning in life or at work.

It’s worth mentally separating the things you are doing just to stay afloat from the things you are doing to reach long-term stability.

  • Working double-shifts to pay the bills, vs. squeezing in night classes to complete a valuable degree program.
  • Struggling to cover the tasks of an employee on your lean corporate team when they resign, vs. letting some tasks drop in favor of hiring their replacement.
  • Dutifully completing your home chores, bill paying, kid-chauffeuring every weekend, vs. booking a vacation to strengthen crucial family bonds.

Some people ignore swimming and get stuck floating, treading water, getting more and more tired, without a shoreline in sight. A smaller group are so focused on achieving long-term success that they completely check out of the needs of day-to-day living and relationships.

Which way are you drowning?