Mitch Joel had a recent rant over at his blog regarding what many consider a sacrifice:
The core message around the discourse is that in order to be successful, you can't be all that successful in other areas of life (family, friends, community, etc...).
While I read the whole thing and understand Mitch's vision — hint: it's not exactly about workaholism —, it's curious that the subject is brought up at this time. Why? Because when facing a global economic crisis, you know you have to do better to achieve truly great work. If you don't, your head is most likely going to be the first one chopped off.
Either way, I think the most important keyword here is "balance". Work is a very important part of my life and I aspire to be a great professional, but I also aspire to be a great human being. Let me explain: while I value my work and get much joy from it, one must not forget that we live in a society, with established relationships and new ones being created/managed every single day. It's just the way life goes.
One of the biggest mistakes I've ever made was to put work on top of everything.
Don't get me wrong: work is very important. But so is life. Truly great professionals do their best work but balance it with other aspects, otherwise they're building a direct path to madness. I have been there and hated it.
I'm filing this post (as I have with others) in "Entrepreneurship" not because it's related to business best practices, but because it's about us as individuals. Focus on doing the very best you can (and cracking that limit every single day), but never forget that the best work you can ever produce is yourself.