When Hard Work Doesn’t Pay: The Law of Unproductive Returns


Photo by Vadim Golovko

I am one hard-working woman.  You too?  It’s been a regular badge of honor for me, but maybe I’ve been working a little too hard?

Guess it depends on who you ask.  My clients respect my drive and results in the IT world.  My kids know I’m a roaring lion if someone ever tried to hurt them (they, of course, would interpret this as “over-protective” vs. hard-working). My girls know I’m ride-or-die loyal.  And what man wouldn’t want an intense, hard-working intimate partner for life?

Yet, I recognize seasons in my life where I’ve just plain ol’ worked too hard!  And the hard work did not pay off, or it pretty much paid peanuts.

Come again?

Listen, no one becomes a professional without hard work. Reaching the pro level implies years of consistent, repeatable work, an investment of energy, sweat, and possibly tears, and the maturity to balance success with inevitable failures.

All of this holds true for me as a recovering People-Pleaser or PhD pro.

There was a time in my life where I believed, like for real, that if I could just be good enough for him, her, or them, I would win the golden ticket to Love, or at least acceptance and validation. This belief was so strong, it permeated every electron in my body, and I became this super-charged, pleasing-machine, working my butt off for what I thought was Love.

Yesterday, during prayer and meditation, I was reminded why God put “let Love work for YOU” so deep into my spirit, and why I constantly share this message with others.

I call it the Law of Unproductive Returns.

See, when you invest your productive energy in non-productive things that are contrary to Love’s purpose and plans for your life, you will always come up short with a negative return on your investment.  Even if you’re close to breaking even, the negativity of remorse or regret for having worked so darn hard, with little to show for it, will drain what few pluses you had to brag on. Notice the ego?

But when we allow ourselves to become “efficiently passive”, when we embrace unproductivity that says, “I trust God. I resign. Love doesn’t need my help.” –  we move out of the way and allow Love’s work to make us rich and abundant every time!

Love never fails. Love does all the heavy lifting; we receive all the blessings and benefits!

Now, don’t read into this as if you don’t have a part to play. It will take some serious letting go of your way of doing things; it will take some challenging thought transformations to break old habits.  This, my friend, is where our work begins.

Our job is to quit working against Love, and adopt Love’s process. For example, I had to quit the belief that I had to earn Love, and believe that I was born worthy of Love – and actually had it all along! Trust me, easier typed than done – it took work, hear me?

What are YOU working too hard for? If your answer is nothing, think again! If you know that a behavior, belief, or habit is out of order with Love’s plan for your life – then you are working too hard FOR it. Fear, denial, self-doubt, blame, jealousy, or any other contradictor – you are a SERVANT to it, and I’m here to tell you – it won’t come close to paying you the returns your heart and mind expects.

But when Love works, we are richly compensated – sweetest deal we can make in life!  [Tweet this]

Are you down for UNproductivity that makes your life abundant?

Prayer-note: “Dear Love, I quit working so hard to win a loss.  Every blessing You have for me, I will receive it – without interference or exhaustion.”

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