About a year ago, I was asked to speak at my high school in Oklahoma as part of career day. Walking into that small school was frankly a thrill. In developing my comments for those soon-to-be college, soon-to-be on the farm, soon-to-be on an oil rig kids – I found an interesting theme. One that wasn’t just for kids. A narrative for me and maybe everyone out there. It comes from an accumulation of hard knocks and a variety of job experiences (from construction hand to busboy to association executive).
These items boil down to a few things. They aren’t new, but sometimes hard to fully implement. Life is a series of decisions and my guess is on a fairly regular basis we are provided the opportunity to address these areas. Our willingness to remain true in each – very possibly aligns ourselves up for success.
You have to “post” or show up:
Now that we are in the days of telecommuting, the ability to show up really has a different meaning. But nothing has really changed here. Do you put in the work by being totally present? With your mind, heart, and body? I’m not talking about the old school approach of: “Johnny shows up early and stays late, so let’s give him a star.” This isn’t really what I mean. Johnny could be slow and have a miserable home life for all I know.
You and I both know those people who bring everything they have for projects; and damn, it’s difficult to do every day. Those are special people.
I’ve seen a thread of items out there that hard work and long hours don’t necessarily apply in today’s world. Success is the life style you want to lead and a sense of contentment. There is an idea that hard work is really a myth put out by “the man” to get the most for the least.
Not the way I see it. You can bring all your talents and do it often…with long hours and repetition. I believe this is essential to excellence today. And, those are the people I look to hire.
In my experience, when I buckled down and brought more than expected, I was rewarded by great companies and people. But, make no mistake – there is no shortcut, despite what reality TV and “business” shows like Shark Tank tell us. The work matters – and, showing up with everything you have, works.
Do what you say you’re going to do:
Upon reflection of my most significant business challenges, I have found this simple truth: If you do what you say, life is a heckuva lot smoother. Now, the world is a bit more nuanced than that. In particular, the ability to clearly articulate what you say you are going to do is the opportunity we all have to improve.
In a world of multiple responsibilities, both socially and in business, we have numerous requests or opportunities to serve. And, in many cases, we believe we must say something or make a commitment to fill the space. Then, we’re overstretched and committed…resulting in not keeping our end of the deal. Who’s at fault? Well, often we should look in the mirror.
If we can’t do it. Don’t say you can. Believe me, you’re going to get smoked out on this over and over again and your reputation suffers immensely in our world today. Because increasingly we’re relying on each other to keep their end of the deal – on everything from building a successful business, leading people or coaching a little league team.
And, alternatively, you can take the adage from my Dad if you keep your word… “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.”
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