Work Hard, Not Just Smart



"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." - Thomas Jefferson

It wasn't too long ago that this topic came up (read this), but it's still relevant. I was fortunate enough to visit with a business owner who hit a fairly rough patch three or four years ago. He made some difficult decisions and has started to turn things around. It will be three or four years more before he's out of the woods, but at least he has a chance.

In our conversation he was able to be brutally honest about his situation. He acknowledged that at this point in his business it wasn't about creative new ideas, or innovative thinking, or some wild and crazy employee engagement program. He knows what his vision is and he's got the strategy in place. Now it's just about working hard and executing. 

Not everyone is able to see that with the same amount of clarity. Everybody likes to come up with brilliant ideas, or great strategies. Visioning is usually a lot of fun - who doesn't enjoy thinking about possibilities and what success looks like?

The problem for a lot of people is that once you've got all that 'fun' stuff done, it's time to go to work. Those visions don't just come to fruition because you imagined them. The great ideas aren't executed by sitting around thinking about them. Strategies aren't implemented by hoping. 

In the end after you've done all that important stuff, you have to do the work. You have to put your nose to the grindstone (use whatever cliché you want) and get things done. There's no EASY button, there's no magic formula, there's just hard work.

No one likes to admit they're not working hard, but are you really focused and tenacious about what you're doing? Are you really doing the things you need to do to succeed? Are you really pushing yourself? Be honest with yourself. If you're not completely convinced of the answer, then that's your answer. Time to get to work.


Article reproduced with the kind permission of Matt Heemstra.

Matt is a director of Cain Ellsworth & Co. LLP, USA.

For over fifteen years he has worked with small and mid-sized business, helping them to envision their future and then make it happen.

Matt heads up Growth & Profit Solutions (GPS), a division of Cain Ellsworth. 

Photo by Filipe de Rodrigues on Unsplash