Over the years, I have observed that those who are blessed with the most talent don’t necessarily outperform everyone else. It’s the people who follow-through who excel.
Mary Kay Ash, The Mary Kay Way
It takes Grit.
It takes Deep Work.
It takes drive. (Drive).
It takes 10,000 hours. (Peak; Outliers).
It takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice; purposeful practice. (and, Talent is Overrated).
It takes checklists. And time management. And energy management. (Getting Things Done; The Power of Full Engagement; The Checklist Manifesto).
It takes attention to detail…
It takes follow-through. (The Mary Kay Way).
Or, maybe, the world is simply divided between people who actually work vs. people who find all sorts of ways to avoid actual work. You know – “work ethic” may really be king!
I read business books, and present synopses of what I read, for a living. (as one part of a speaking, consulting professional life). And, there are so many good books on how to work smart, how to maximize the use of your time; how to bounce back.
But, as helpful and useful as all of these are, I think there really is a key secret.
When you are at work, work. Don’t avoid work, skip work, pretend to work… work! Actually work!
And, you probably need to spend more hours working. But, if you actually do work while you are at work, maybe not too many more hours.
(aside – John Wooden planned his practices to the minute; 2-2/12 hour practices. Never longer. In other words, when a player showed up for practice for Coach Wooden, he worked! Not much standing around at Coach Wooden’s practices! And, his teams won more championships that any other team in history!).
I just read a terrific interview with Soledad O’Brien. She is one accomplished woman! Read it here; Soledad O’Brien: Seek Out the Curious and the Fastidious. Here’s a key excerpt:
How do you hire?
I also think there are two qualities you can’t teach people. You have to want to understand something, and I don’t think you can teach people to be curious. You can interest people in a topic and they become curious, but I think you’re born interested in things or you’re not.
And I’m obsessed with attention to detail. I don’t know that you can teach that — either that triggers you to stay for the next two hours to fix something, or you’re the kind of person who will just let it slide.
Think about this: “either you stay for the next two hours to fix something, or you don’t, and you just let it slide.” Call that drive; self-motivation; call that conscientiousness; call that grit; call that follow-through.
Or, just call that work ethic. But I think the message is clear — without it, you probably won’t get much done…