A few of you wrote me asking about the next step in the six pack of success… Well! here it is:
Work hard – It’s really as simple as it sounds … if you want to move up the career ladder, you need to work hard! Working hard does not mean working 24/7 as that would not be smart. Remember, all the steps of the six pack are complementary and mutually reinforcing! So working hard must not be seen in isolation of the other steps on the road to success, such as maintaining a learning posture and working smart.
One common mistake people make is to assume that if you work smart, you don’t need to work hard. Working smart is a twin to working hard and not a replacement. Working hard means never looking for clever excuses to avoid or delay important work. On the contrary, do as much work immediately and always look for additional challenges. Working hard means being engaged in your work by paying full attention to what you are doing. It means staying focused on what you are trying to accomplish – you have no time to waste or be distracted by small office politics, gossip, trivia and unproductive causes. It also means developing your capacity by championing great human causes. You’d be surprised how much untapped potential you have!
And don’t believe the rumors: no one has ever died from working hard. People often confuse “working hard” with “working dumb”; a better association is to link it with good work ethics.
When the student asked me, “How did you get to become a senior executive?”, the first thing that came to my mind was by working hard. I have never seen a successful person who did not work hard. Remember the second question from the student was, “What’s the shortest distance to move from being a student to become a senior executive – be it a Director General, Assistant Deputy Minister, CIO or CEO?”. Working hard is your short cut!!! Well, if you want to advance, not working hard is not an option!
I assure you that working hard is necessary for any meaningful accomplishment and career advancement. In my experience, all successful people work hard, but not all hard working people are successful. This is why you need to consider working hard within the context of the six pack.
Some people associate working hard with having a hard time at work. This could not be further from the truth. You need to always enjoy and have fun at work, we’ll chat about this in future blogs.
Irrespective of the outcome, when you work hard, you feel you’ve earned the right to be present and there will always be room for you on the team. I dare say that working hard is food for the soul that we all need and make us feel whole, especially in a modern world that seems to discount basic human and old fashion values, decency and kindness, in favor of quick and often empty and short-term rewards. For anything to last if not grow, it requires the seriousness and discipline of a strong mind and warm heart, both fueled by hard work.
As a young boy, I was always impressed by farmers who worked hard and long hours but they were happy, positive and productive. There is something honest, honorable and rewarding about working hard!
One can go on but so far you have step 1- Become a Learning Machine, step 2- Work Smart, step 3- Work Hard… Stay tuned for step 4, coming soon as the fun continues. While working hard, I wish you a touch of good luck, as the song says, [hard work & luck] these are words that go together well:)