The Breaking Even Point

Being the most boring man alive, I’m reading a book about leadership at the minute called ‘The First 90 Days.’ It’s aimed at people who have moved into a new work role, normally as a result of a promotion, and who are expected to make an initial positive impact. It features lots of fancy leadership speak, talking about transitional acceleration and the like. I would much rather be reading ‘Lord of the Rings’ but needs must.

I’ve only read the first chapter, there being ten in total. Each chapter focuses on an area of your work life which you can improve upon. Chapter titles include Promoting Yourself, Securing Early Wins and Network Building. Worry not, this is not the beginning of a ten blog series on the topic. I’ve no desire in seeing my leadership plummet so will spare you all the misery of such a proposition.

The one point from the book which has struck a chord with me so far, however, is about reaching the ‘breaking even’ point. This is the stage in a new post where you behind to contribute more than you consume. The aim is to get there as efficiently and effectively as you can, so as you become an asset to the organisation as opposed to a burden. 90 days is the make or break period.

The book was recommended to me by a colleague as I’ve recently been promoted, but it got me thinking. For many years I wasted my life, meandering along with little focus or direction. I was a bit of a mess, if I’m honest, lacking in confidence and self belief. I convinced myself I was a failure with little, if anything, to offer the world. I wallowed in a sea of self pity and loathing.

When my father died, nine years ago now, the wheels came off completely and I spiralled into a destructive tailspin which I couldn’t pull myself out of. If it wasn’t for my family and true friends, I dread to think where I would have ended up. It was car crash television of the highest order and I was the star of the show. Yet, by hook or by crook, I survived it to tell the tale.

This blog is my testimony to that, my survival journal. It’s written as a signpost to others, showing that it is possible to step back from the abyss and make something of your life. It is possible to contribute more than you consume, to attain the ‘breaking even’ point in life, whereupon you feel worthy, valued and no longer a burden on loved ones. It’s the stage in life where you can look yourself in the mirror and not flinch away.

This blog is also a lifeline, a daily reminder I can never rest on my laurels for fear of sliding back into old habits. Complacency can creep up on you so easily, it’s a silent killer. Writing is one of the protective mechanisms I’ve surrounded myself with to ensure I don’t ever return to that cold, dark place. I’ve fought hard to get to my ‘breaking even’ point. It’s been a long and rocky road but I’m finally there. Are you?

Have you reached your ‘breaking even’ point in life?

20 thoughts on “The Breaking Even Point

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  1. You are so right to warn of complacency. It is such an easy attitude to slip into, even after hitting your ‘breaking even point’. I believe its one of the reasons why success doesn’t always breed improvement and innovation. Sounds like you’ve found a nugget that will make the book a worthy read. Congrats on your continuing choice to walk in a newness of life.

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  2. This is written beautifully. I too,can relate. For far too long I consumed about 99 percent and contributed 1 percent. But I have come to the point, (love the line, “by hook or by crook”) where I am contributing much more than I am consuming. However, old familiar habits are always just a mind slip away. It is good to be vigilant against sliding back into those things because they had no profit. Thank you for the post

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  3. Break even…. I wish. I contribute way too much when certain family members are around. I need to consume (listen) better. Writing more might help me contribute in a more healthy way. Be irritated on paper, not at people.

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  4. For whatever reason, I’ve always behaved as if I was born a deficit. I spent the majority of my life chasing the ‘breaking even’ point until I exhausted myself mentally, emotionally and physically. I’ve spent the last few years in reflection, still feeling that deficit but understanding that so much of that is just in my head.

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  5. Hello
    I feel compelled to comment on this post.

    I believe I reached my “breaking point” when I was about 7 or 8 when I was adrift in a sea of uncaring faces in an orphanage in Chicago, U.S. I had family but was thrown out like garbage when my parents wanted a different life with different partners. I was in the way.

    I had many of these “breaking points” but they were intentional. I wanted to be adrift in the sea. I wanted to be alone rather than being alone in a sea of people.

    I’m here and I’m well so to speak. I’m quite ill and will see what is out beyond my sea soon. I agree. Arm yourselves against complacency. You never know what will hit you around the next corner. However, live each moment in small increments and live them as though they are your last. Don’t look behind you at the past and don’t look forward.

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  6. I hit my breaking point about two years ago but only started taking action 10 months ago to finally leave a relationship that was mentally and verbally abusive. I enjoy your very real and honest posts ❤️

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