What does it take to achieve real success? Talent, Education (both the in-the-classroom type and the out-of-the-classroom type) work ethic, desire, persistence are just some common ingredients, but as the leader of a great team, I can’t help but focus on work ethic. “Everyone works hard” is a phrase that has become synonymous with our culture. But do they?
Most successful people share traits of work ethic that include:
NOT JUST WORKING HARD, BUT WORKING HARDER THAN THE COMPETITION.
- They are willing to sacrifice.
- They understand they are no flower-strewn paths to glory. Bumps happen and they accept the hardships.
- Perseverance is embraced, part of the lifestyle and enjoyable.
- They are self-motivated to push, cross finish lines and find new ones to cross.
I ALWAYS ASK YOUNGER PEOPLE, “WHAT DO YOU WANT? WHAT’S YOUR GOAL?” THE ANSWERS ARE USUALLY THINGS LIKE #1 IN MY COMPANY AND OTHER COMMENTS THAT RESEMBLE THE “WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP” MINDSET. AND THAT’S GREAT. BUT DO THEY WANT TO DO THE WORK TO GET THERE? DO THEY REALIZE WHAT IT TAKES? ARE THEY IN LOVE WITH THE GAME, OR THE TROPHY?
In business, you can buy a trophy. Many industry awards are sponsored by publications and as long as you pay your entry fee and maybe look at other sponsorship or advertising opportunities you will be named an industry leader. Really. Handing someone a trophy for something they haven’t really earned is not achievement, it is purchased publicity. And while many companies may use the accolades as proof points, real success is won only by going through the fight and earning the journey.
THE JOURNEY IS WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL PERSON OR COMPANY.
The individual and institutional will to be great, be together, be there for your team when they fall and raise them up when they fly and be able to sacrifice self for an ultimate goal. It takes a driving work ethic to take this journey and shape real success in your career, your business and your life.
The Obligation to Succeed.
I love quotes. In the movie A Bronx Tale, DeNiro tells his son that “the saddest thing in the world is wasted talent”. I’d have to agree. You see we are all given special and unique talents. The journey of successful people universally employs the adoption of every single drop of talent and ability. Never let a gifted talent go unused. You must have the drive to get the most of your talents to live a life fulfilled. One could say that success then, is not an opportunity, it’s an obligation.
Using your gifts, talents and abilities to their maximum is something you owe to the people closest to you. Your employees need this critically, your loved ones, your family. Not all gifts are gifted from birth, many come from your environment and those that have built you. All they want to see is you soaring in life, so give it to them. But maybe most of all…do it for yourself.
If you are driven to achieve success as an obligation to yourself, you are self-motivated, outwork the competition, live perseverance, overcome obstacles, leverage the strength of those around you and provide that same strength for others. You now have a champion’s mindset. Trophies are mere reminders of what real success is: A journey of tireless work ethic that maximized your potential and that of those around you for the achievement of something truly great.
On your last day, be in peace knowing that “I ran as fast as I could run, I worked as hard as I could work, I carried my body as far as these damn legs would push me.
So, okay, today, I’m kind of fine with death, because today, I will die a champion.”
Be the champion of your life. And get moving.