Success usually doesn’t come with a trophy. It comes with a pair of jeans that have dirty knees.
Along the way it doesn’t look like you’re leading a parade.
It feels like your building the pyramids and someone’s cracking the whip over your head, threatening you to do more or lose your dinner.
We like to glamorize the pursuit of success. We like to pretend as if there are only a select few who have the right stuff to attain outrageous success. We talk with passion about formulas and strategy and best practices.
Frankly, that type of success doesn’t work in real life.
It’s great for seminars, keynotes, and business conferences. But it never seems to work all that well when you start applying all those easy-to-do items you just learned.
What’s usually left unsaid is that most of the time brawn beats brains — hard work beats smart work more times than not. That’s not something we talk about when we talk about strategy.
We actually believe that hard work is just for dumb people.
For people without any other options or degrees or fancy job titles. Apparently, hard work is what you do when you can’t do anything else. Its the last option. A backup strategy.
But maybe that’s the wrong way you look at life. Maybe the smart plan is the hard plan. Maybe the best strategy is the most difficult one – dedicating yourself to hard work. Deciding to roll up your sleeves and do what needs to be done yourself. Not hiring it out. Not bringing it in turns to carry the load.
Not delegating, motivating, or triaging. Just working. Hard.
And while that doesn’t sound sexy or new or novel, hard work is the single biggest differentiator between high performers and everyone else. They are willing to execute at a level that others make excuses to avoid.
Hard work is the biggest behavior that separates successful people from everyone else. Not brains. Not education. Not strategy, planning, processes, or people. Good old-fashioned hard work
The good news is that anyone can work hard.
There’s nothing stopping you from executing. There is nothing that can get in your way when you decide you’re willing to do whatever it takes. That’s not “foo foo” motivational mumbo jumbo. That’s real life.
That’s the most honest business advice you’ll ever hear. You can go anything as long as you’re willing to work hard enough and long enough.
And then you might get a trophy.
But you’ll probably be wearing a pair of those jeans with the dirty knees on them.
Because you had to work for it. Every inch of the way.