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I am turning a corner in my life. One of my mentors recently said to me that while my previous attempt to just grind hard and get it done work well in the last 20 years, turning past that 40 year mark makes that old philosophy physically impossible. Not only will it kill me, it just doesn’t create the balance that I am looking for in my life. So what does hard work mean to you? What should it mean? Are you falling into the trap that our American culture and lifestyle has embodied? Are you the next John Wayne cowboy, who will do it on your own? Is so, and you build a brand that makes massive riches and yet you have no one to share it with or nothing left when your gone. What value have you left to this world? What value have you left to those you will eventually leave behind? So let’s tackle this concept of Hard Work.
Hard Work means Consistency.
Recently, while attending a summit, I was part of a conversation where those involved were expressing how many hours per day they work. Phrases like “Ya, gotta do whatever it takes.” “Working 20 hour grind.” I am sure they are quoting some of the top Guru’s out there but they are only pulling what they wanted to hear. Not the conversation in context. (check out this article to go deeper Steve’s article). The point is they were wearing the long hours and sleepless nights as a badge of honor. I would suggest that it isn’t a badge of honor. Working a few long days is to be expected but to say that 12 – 18 hour work day is a lifestyle is unhealthy and not sustainable. It will have a negative impact on the wholeness of your life.
Another story that I found comical, an argument between a night owl and an early bird. Night owls boasting how productive it is to start working at 9pm and going to 5am. Early birds started in how fresh they are in the morning. Getting up a specific time every morning. Why can’t they both be right? I am personally an early bird. I find that I am more productive in the morning. Love every minute of those early morning hours when no one else is up and I can hear the birds starting to awake. The sunrises are spectacular and offer a brand new day to accomplish what you set out to do. My wife, however, is a night owl. I am always amazed at the energy she has that starts at about 9pm and will often run well past Midnight. Her creativity just blossoms in those hours. I have no idea how she does it but it is obvious that we are on completely different schedules. Both fresh and creative at different times. There is no wrong answer here, except to attempt to be something that you are not. To attempt to become like someone else would be your greatest fail.
Hard Work means keeping your life in Balance.
My past method of operating either business or project has been to dive in, over my head and spend all energy and waking hours to complete that project. Boy, what a dumb idea that was. You see, with all of life, relationships, business, or what every your involved with, there is no growth without attention. And lack of attention creates a slow decay.
Keeping a balanced life, physically, mentally, and spiritual is important to allow you to be more creative and better equipped to handle the current situation. Edison would often walk away from a challenge in order to have more clarity. This practice works in many areas of life where we find ourselves struggling.
So look at what is currently on your schedule and make the decision to balance all that hard work. By balancing yourself it will increase your effectiveness and allow you to build that strong Profitable Brand. This leads us to the next concept of hard work.
Let’s first look at prioritizing of your time. Setting goals and creating your daily action list. Vinnie Fisher says “One of the biggest obstacles all business owners face is how to use their time and energy.” If you don’t plan out your day, week, month or year, time will plan it for you. It is amazing how time just disappears. If you are not wrestling it into submission it will control you. The demand to put out fires and solve issues will be ever present, distracting you from the best use of your time. Hard work will often start with working hard on managing your time.
Alibaba create a monster of a business, the brand is quickly becoming more of a common name but their first 5 years was a planned loss. They knew they were not going to make anything during those years but their recent IPO has been one of the biggest in history. Their priority as a brand was to make it a huge company. Something the world had not seen up to this point. Only way to successfully build this type of brand is to have that unrelenting focus on the top priorities and the best use of time.
The second part is creating an ability to work on the things that are controllable. So many thing in life will enter our field of view and demand attention and yet there is nothing that we can do to control those part of the process of building a brand. People will hate, doubters will be out in droves, and supporters will come and go. The list of things that are outside of our control is virtually endless. Our focus needs to be on what can we control and then choose to focus on those things that are controllable.
Don Wilson is another example of someone that has had to prioritize and focus on things that are controllable. With his life and story over the last three years there have been some crazy, uncontrollable circumstances but his persistence and focus on what he could control created a powerhouse of a company called GearBubble. Reported that they were able to do 7 figures in sales within the first 3 months. This site gives normal individuals the ability to create a second income to help with a few bills while others have created a brand by selling products on GearBubble’s Platform.
2 things you need to do while working hard to building your brand.
- You must learn to prioritize your goals and your activity. Stephen R. Covey is most likely, the best know author on setting prioritize and goals, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
- You must learn to let go of the things you just cannot control.