‘A girl in a suit juggling painted by Rene Magritte’ generated by DALL-E 2.

What you have to sacrifice to be successful (unless you have a rich dad)

Klaudia Raczek


When we look at people who professionally do more than one full-time job, on top of that, they are active in sports, learn languages, have passions, and social life, it seems that all comes easier to them. That they just have more energy, more talent. Success, however, doesn’t happen overnight.

Achievements require luck, but most of all, they are a matter of choice. We all have the same time, 24 hours per day. How do we spend them?

That’s why I want to share with you what sacrifices I make to:

  • work full-time as a marketing manager in a technology company,
  • write a business book,
  • teach at a university,
  • train and consult,
  • build a personal brand,
  • and, last but not least, have time for myself and my loved ones, and live a happy and healthy life.

But let’s consider for a second the very definition of success.

What does it mean to be successful?

Success means something different for every one of us. For me, it’s NOT (ONLY) being famous, appearing on TV or radio, or being recognized on the street. This, again, is mostly just the result of someone’s remarkable work, but not every A-player needs to build their brand. This is another factor and competence to be a persuasive speaker.

On your terms, you can be successful and be known by 30 co-workers and a bunch of friends, and that’s OK. For this text, however, I’m slightly generalizing.

1. You have less time for entertainment

Last year I watched only a few movies, any TV series, but instead, for example:

  • I spent more than 100 hours just working on my English skills (as the second language I use at work),
  • I read more than 23 books, and listened to a few,
  • I spent 38 hours listening to podcasts, mostly business, technology, or personal development,
  • I spent over 566 hours listening to music on Spotify (sometimes mindfully, sometimes just in the background).

It’s not that I don’t like movies and TV series, no. While having little time, I chose something that developed me more. Just that.

2. You limit your social contacts

You don’t go to parties, or you finish them faster. On top of that, you drink less alcohol or not at all. When I often teach, train, record a podcast, write a book, or create strategies on the weekends, I don’t have time for hangovers and bad moods.

After working long hours during the workweek, I usually don’t have the intellectual capacity for additional activities, so I can’t just relax on the weekend.

Let me clarify. I don’t give up time for friends, acquaintances, or family. It’s just that I’ve started to spend more quality time together (walks, conversations, meals, museums). Still, I’ve also started to be more careful about whom I meet (as I like ‘Toxic’ only by Britney Spears).

3. You need to take better care of your mental and physical health

With several professional areas on your mind, you must care about your mental and physical condition through, e.g., meditation, therapy, sports, and getting enough sleep. For example, last year:

  • I managed to improve the amount of sleep from an average of 5.5 hours in the previous six months to 7.5 hours a day,
  • I spent about 50 hours a year on yoga,
  • I have spent more than 200 hours running, squash, skateboarding (I don’t count biking or walking, as I mostly choose them as default transportation in the city),
  • I did more than daily steps 11100 daily,
  • I meditated for more than 60 hours,
  • I have taken advice from therapists and coaches several times in more difficult moments,
  • I tried to play the piano at least 10 minutes per day,
  • I’ve been changing my diet a lot. I’ve recently been romancing the vegetarian keto diet, which was a good step towards healthy eating.

A sound mind in a sound body. Again, wasting time is your biggest enemy if you want to achieve a lot. Being effective is being healthy, in a good mood, and shape. Eating poorly, disrupting sleep, and living in a toxic environment lead only to a vicious circle, and complaining that you are not lucky.

4. Traveling is no longer so cool

Last year, I traveled about 30 times to various cities in my country for business. I’ll add to that trips to Sweden or Scotland, where these types of expeditions look nice on the surface, but most often, carving out time for sightseeing comes at the expense of sleep. The reality is that the calendar is loaded with meetings and events, and they are mentally exhausted.

Another challenge is maintaining healthy eating habits, regular yoga, and meditation (in my case) during those travels. When you are with other people, you can quickly disrupt the rhythm of the day that works best for you.

With those experiences, spending time at home with a blanket and a book sounds better than visiting new cities or countries.

You don’t want to do so much — ok, that’s your choice, not force majeure

I can see these four critical areas influenced by many professional activities happening simultaneously. However, it’s hard work and choice, and each additional hour of work, training or public speaking leads me to more opportunities and, as a result, achievements.

I don’t mean everyone has to work as much (not everyone likes or wants to, that’s completely normal). But, if someone prefers to launch Netflix after 8 hours of work, make popcorn and fall asleep in front of the TV, then let’s treat it as their choice. Looking for excuses that others have better/easier/more talent, simply diminishes the hard work.

Agree or disagree?



Klaudia Raczek

Marketing manager & strategist. Devoted to B2B in tech/IT. Leadership, copywriting, creativity, AI, scrum/agile/lean trainer and SWPS lecturer.