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We all have a finite number of fucks to give. We should choose wisely where we give them.

Many of wonderful people I know go out into the world with a strong sense of service, to make a difference in the jobs we do or the businesses we run.

A passionate cause can, however, become all-consuming. We can forget to look after ourselves. The drive to be the best that we can be, to do right by our clients and our employers, to go the extra mile… those can quietly morph into their unhealthy opposites.

As we spend more time being immersed in our clients’ wicked problems, we can put our own needs and challenges on the back burner. We can’t possible have a break until we have ticked off all of the work items. Which are of course unending.

I’m not saying we need to care less. Because I have tried and can’t. To care deeply about our work and our clients is part of what makes us valued contributors!

What we can do is choose where we invest our allotted number of fucks.

We have to choose clients that deserve and value what we bring to their causes. The conditions of engagement/employment must be reasonably conducive to our continual wellbeing. We should match our care factor to our employer or client’s care factor.

Service is not a one way street. Otherwise it’d be called martyrdom.

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