How giving up alcohol could put you on the road to business success.
“If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what your want will become the sacrifice.” Unknown
Work can be hard.
There is no doubt about it. There can be long hours, with early morning and late nights.
I know from my many years of corporate work, as well as stumbling through my own entrepreneurship endeavor for 18 months before deciding that perhaps it was time for me to cut back a bit on the booze to increase my chances of success.
It’s actually the whole reason this publication even exists.
This “cutting back” eventually turned into me giving up alcohol altogether and experiencing more success in the three months of being sober to end the year (or what I call alcohol-conscious) than I did in the previous nine months to begin the year.
And while I ultimately decided to shut my business down because running your own business is hard AF, and I had yet to develop the skills needed to do so, I was excited because I had found a secret weapon that was going to allow me to take my overall work success to the next level when I returned to good old corporate America.
Here are the reasons why and why maybe you should consider it as well.
You will have more time to devote to work
Sounds silly right?
We now live in a world in which everyone is trying to cut the working cords and “live their best life” and “yolo” all the time.
And while that is fantastic for a song, it’s challenging to pay the bills or contribute to your 401k with your story from the night before.
Therefore, if we want to be able to truly retire and live the lives we desire at some point, there has to be a bit more focus on our actual day jobs in a way that will set us up as such.
Ask anyone who has ever given up drinking and the first thing they will tell you is that one of the biggest challenges is the amount of free time they have that they are not sure what to do with.
Free time a challenge???
In relation to the workday, the thought of having any extra time probably excites you like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning. It often feels like there are NEVER enough hours in a day.
Depending on the level of expectation of your job, working 50–60 plus hour weeks can pretty much be the norm, and often, the only thing that stands between failure and success initially seems to be finding enough time in the day to get everything done.
For me, when I gave up drinking, the amount of time I was able to devote to work was ASTRONOMICAL.
On average, I would drink 3 or 4 times per week.
What this looked like was me starting to drink around 6 or 7 pm after a long day of work (I woke up at 5 am) and then me finishing around 10 pm. I would be in bed by 11 pm and up the next day, around 5 am to get the day going again…yeah, I also didn’t get enough sleep during that time.
On the weekends, I would usually go out with my friend on Saturday night around 10 pm and then finish the night off around 3 am (you have to get that late-night Waffle House in, don’t you?).
This would then lead to me sleeping in until 10 am or 11 am the next day to be able to operate in any capacity as normal.
When I decided to become alcohol-conscious and give up alcohol, what ultimately happened is that instead of going out on all those nights, I would just put extra time into work or relax with my girlfriend (now wife) at home. This would lead to me going to bed much earlier than I did before.
Now, instead of getting up at 5 am partially hungover and stumbling through the first half of the day, I would wake up at 4:30 am, refreshed and ready to work. This would lead to being MUCH more productive each and every day than I had ever been in the past.
Also, I was now able to devote a bit of time on the weekends to work to get ahead of various assignments.
This put me so much ahead of many of my peers, it would be ridonkulous (great word BTW…the fact that Grammarly did not spell check this just made my day), as most of them were focused on doing all the things I used to do and waste hours upon hours of possible productivity.
Ultimately, this led to me being able to squeeze in an extra 10–15 hours per week, as well as being much more productive in the same 50 plus hours that I was putting in before.
When you’re competing against Johnny or Susan for that promotion, these hours are a game-changer to set yourself apart and do some pretty amazing things with that extra time that others are not able or not willing to do.
Your mental clarity will be on another level
Regardless of what business you are in, thinking through things holistically is helpful.
Whether it’s a role that requires you to do a lot of physical work or one in which you are sitting in front of a computer all day, being able to think things through to work smarter rather than harder is always a great attribute.
When you stop drinking, you’ll be amazed at how you’ll begin to look at things differently and identify opportunities that you may have missed so many times before.
When you are drinking, your brain’s synapses just don’t fire at the same speed and frequency that they do when you are alcohol-conscious.
There is a lot of science behind this, and ultimately what this means is that alcohol makes it much more difficult for you to learn something new or think strategically than if you were not drinking.
When you stop drinking, you’ll be amazed at how many things you are able to grasp that you may have struggled with before.
Your synapses will not be impaired by alcohol, and it will almost be like a fog cloud lifted, as you will be able to grasp and understand topics that may have frustrated you in the past. You will also just find yourself looking at things from different points of view than you ever did before.
In business, there are so many strategic decisions that will take your ability to see around corners and think through things holistically that being free of this mental fog will prove tremendously beneficial to your thought process when various situations arise.
While I thought I was always making the best decision for the situation at hand, what I didn’t realize is how much I was leaving on the table because my brain was not fully engaged in the decision-making process due to alcohol’s impairing it.
Surprisingly, it’s challenging to come up with novel, business-changing solutions when your brain is still trying to process those 10 Fireball shots from the previous night.
When you stop drinking, you’ll be amazing at how much clearer everything will become, as you’ll be able to better think through issues in a much quicker and cleaner way.
You will be your best self at all times
This is the most subtle difference that could pay the biggest dividends for you in the long run.
Often, when we are out drinking and having fun, most of us don’t desire to think too much about work if we can help it. Our thought process is that we are not working anymore, and it’s time to just destress a bit with our friends.
I feels ya…you have to do this from time to time or you’ll go work crazy.
And while destressing and relaxing are definitely important, the reality is that you never know when you might run into someone who could be your big break in which it would be beneficial to have your best foot forward during this interaction.
While you could be ready to present a positive image to them and still impress them enough to get their support while drinking, it is also very likely that you could be so drunk that you don’t even recognize that this could be an opportunity in the first place.
Word vomiting or actual vomiting on them because you’re hammered would NOT be the move.
Therefore, by becoming alcohol-conscious and limiting or controlling the amount of alcohol you allow yourself to consume, you greatly increase your chances of being ready to take advantage of any situation that presents itself.
And while there’s no guarantee that you’ll meet the person that will give you the next job that will change your life, you’ll know you’ll be much better equipped to be ready for it if you do since you’ll be sober.
Your future self and probably 401k balance will thank you tremendously.