We’ve all heard the quintessential saying “The early bird catches the worm” or “Work hard and good things will happen.” But does this really work? At what point should you expect to see meaningful signs of success from your efforts?
Well here’s the unfortunate truth. You probably haven’t worked hard enough, for long enough.
“What?” you respond. “I’m well educated, with an undergraduate degree. I spent a lot of time perfecting my resume. I network with the right people. I’m a nice person and I work hard.”
So here’s the reality check…
It means so much and yet so little. Your undergrad degree or even Masters degree helps open doors. But once you’re in your job, your manager is going to quickly forget about your interview or resume. They simply don’t care about your education. What they care about (or should) are your results.
Doesn’t mean much. To me, networking is massive waste of time. Networking implies you are building relationships from which you can advance your career or get someone to buy whatever you’re selling. Here’s the problem with “networking” everyone you are speaking with is trying to do the same thing.
Now, relationship building is extremely important. But that comes through one-on-one meetings. Perhaps over dinner or even better in a closed room for the sole purpose of discussing how each other can mutually benefit from working together.
Nice Guys (& Girls)
Being a nice person is important. Don’t let that asshole manager you know, convince you that being a jerk is the only way to advance your career. Especially if he is 50+ and Caucasian. He probably sold himself short of his own potential and got to where he is largely off of an old path to success. Continue being nice, but be assertive too.
I Work Hard
Really? Are you sure?
This is probably the one greatest shortcoming for most people. You see, most of us think we work hard, but we don’t. Here are a few questions you should answer honestly:
1) Are you consistently the first to work? Not just every now and then. Always?
2) Are you almost always the last to leave the office?
3) How many times in the month do you come back to the office after dinner or come in on the weekend to finish up the work you didn’t get to that week?
4) How often do you wish you were out with your friends for lunch or a evening drink but need to stay and finish your project?
5) When you go to bed at night, do you nearly fall asleep before you even hit the mattress from pure exhaustion?
6) Do your friends or work colleagues tell you “You work too much.”
7) Do you ever wonder if all this work your putting is worth it? (It is BTW!)
If you truly want to be successful in your career and life, make a god damn effort. Quit spending time dwelling over someone else’s success. Stop making excuses. Get up early. Make your bed. Do some push-ups. Say hello to your neighbour. Get to work early. Be nice to your colleagues. Work your ass off. Learn as much as you can. Be humble. Stay late. Eat a healthy dinner. Watch a little TV. Be thankful for everything you have and even more hungry for everything you don’t. Go to bed. Repeat until…
You’ll know when.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison