Hard work will not guarantee you success. Let me explain – the hardest working athletes are not the ones making the most money. The most talented ones in any sport are not often described as being “hard working” The person who is putting in 12 hour days, sweating and plodding along? Getting the job done and earning very little reward? Do people get promoted within the organization on work ethic alone? Isn’t usually because they know someone, have a natural knack for something, have more “education”, or were just in the right place at the right time?
I’m not saying that hard work goes unnoticed. Coaches, managers, leaders – they often go out of their way to acknowledge and praise hard-workers. They are held up as examples to the others and given momentary spotlights, but in the end, it’s not the attribute that brings success. I have seen a lot of hard-working people get treated unfairly over my career in all avenues of life. The person that quietly goes about their business and bothers no one is rarely acknowledged. The person who has a knack for doing a lot of things well is “too valuable” to move to higher positions of authority.
Hard working people are often not vocal enough to “too their own horn” and get noticed, so they are not noticed (they believe their work speaks for itself). How many people do you know that are the fall guy to get stuff done? If no one else wants to do it, we know the guy or gal we can count on to get ‘er done, right? Am I wrong? So what value is “working hard”, and why should we work hard, or expect those we lead work hard as well if there isn’t a visible payoff? Well, there’s 2 things here I want to say.
Number 1 – as a leader, if you have people in your organization that work hard – make sure you acknowledge them and take a deep, accurate look at how you treat them. Are you taking advantage of them? More importantly – you, the hard-worker. Why should you work hard? Do you work hard for a reward (pay, promotion, or prestige)? Should you work hard for these things? What about for self-pride? I’m talking ego – I’m talking good pride. I’m talking about sleeping well at night, knowing that whether you work for someone else, or work for yourself, you can take pride in putting forth an ffort today that made you, your oganization, and others you served better. I think there’s much value in hard work, and I believe that kind of pride in working hard reflects our creator. But be careful, don’t try and equate hard work and being busy as one thing. I’ve seen plenty of people that are masters at being busy doing nothing, appearing to work hard, and leveraging that to try and get ahead. That shows very little self-pride as well. So work hard, get satisfaction from doing a good job. Take pride in what you do.
Just don’t ask your work to be the catalyst for pushing you to higher levels of success – that is asking too much of something so simple. Thoughts on hard work? Hard Work CAN Kill You Hard work never killed anyone. (Proverbial) Overworking can be seriously damaging to your health. Stress and long hours heart problems, increased susceptibility to infection, fatigue disorders like CFS/ME… and even suicide. We live in a world where we often feel pushed to do more. You might be under pressure from your peers, your parents, or society in general.
You might well have internalized these influences – and you may believe that to be “successful”, you need to have a high-flying career or a huge salary. Ultimately, though, you won’t be able to enjoy the fruits of your hard work if you ruin your health in the process. Working hard isn’t always a good thing. It can actually end up being selfish and destructive, if: * Your long hours cause problems for your family * You’re short-tempered with colleagues or employees * You make mistakes because you’ve been working too hard You lose your sense of perspective, and let work take over your life How to Keep Work in Perspective Recognize the importance of other things – like friends, family, hobbies, sufficient rest and relaxation… If you’re working hard in the hopes of retiring early, ease up on work and enjoy your whole life a little more – instead of hoping for a few golden years at the end of it. If you’re working hard to buy more things for your kids, ask yourself whether it’s really more money that they need – or your presence. If you’re working hard because you feel that you “should” – then remember that this is your life, and it’s up to you to decide how to live it. * *
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