I don’t believe in wellness.

You want to smoke, eat meat and die of diabetes-related issues at an early age? I don’t care. I’m not your mom.

Me? I don’t believe in heaven, which makes me oddly pro-life. I would like to live as long as possible, and I don’t want my body to stop working for no good reason. That’s why I quit eating meat, took up running, and started exercising 3x/week with my friend, Jenna, who is a pilates instructor.

I am not an anorexic ballerina. I work hard to touch my toes. And Jenna is the right mix of coach and buddy. She recently told me, “You have made huge progress, but I am here to push you. It’s never going to be good enough. There is always room for refinement.”

I like that. A lot.

But sometimes I get down on myself. I’m human. My form isn’t right, my core isn’t very strong, and I still eat cookies like a teenager. There are times when I fall apart when we get into upper-level work.

That’s when Jenna says, “Laurie, you work hard. If you need it, take a knee. There’s no shame in that.”

And we laugh. Take a knee. Like she’s some high school football coach.

But now I’m using that phrase all over the place.

  1. Blogging? I tried my best. I took a knee.
  2. Working on a PowerPoint deck for my upcoming webinar with Halogen? OMG, let me take a knee for five minutes.
  3. Finishing my taxes without destroying the fabric of my marriage? Wait, I totally need to take a knee.

I work hard. I am smart. When something isn’t quite right, I’ve earned the right to pause, reflect, and readjust. And I am always better when I take a knee, by the way. I don’t give into the craziness around me — at work, in life, or during Pilates class.

When you read ponderously trite articles on sites like Huffington Post and Forbes about work in the 21st century, you should know that hyper-performing employees don’t have work/life balance issues. They push themselves, sure, but they are deliberate and methodical. They demand the time and space to pause, reflect, and readjust. And they always deliver.

So go ahead and take a knee. The best people do it. And I think it would do your career some good.