I bet like me you were told (and continue to hear) that to get ahead or to reach the next level you have to work hard.
Work harder, and you’ll accomplish more; work harder, and you’ll be better; work harder, and you’ll get the results you want.
Our culture has such a reverence for hard work; we make it seem as if all you have to do to be guaranteed success and wealth is: work hard(er).
The Delusion of Hard Work
Though worn as a badge of honor by many, ‘hard work’ is such a loaded phrase. And usually what comes with it is the expectation of long hours and weekends and minimal “me” time – which is regularly associated with success, which is frequently linked to earning a lot of money.
But as you know – maybe even from personal experience – there are a lot of people who work hard yet feel short changed when it comes to success and wealth.
On the off-chance you and I are not operating with the same definition of ‘hard work,’ let me be clear: I am not talking about hard work that comes from challenging yourself to reach beyond your limits – that expands your confidence because you overcame a difficult task or met a monumental milestone.
When I talk about the delusion of hard work, I’m speaking of ‘hard work’ as a constant state of being that lauds struggle and dismisses ease.
When struggle trumps ease, all hell breaks loose – if not immediately, then eventually. And as a result, you tend to:
- Conflate the relationship between time and money with the relationship between time and work. They are NOT one-in-the-same and your income doesn’t have to be proportional to your investment of time.
- Conflate ‘hard work’ with focused-effort, discipline, consistency, practice, and a willingness to experiment.
- Assume there’s something wrong if what you’re doing doesn’t always require ‘hard work’ and it isn’t experienced as difficult. This way of being can become so “natural” for you that it extends beyond your work to include your personal relationships and how you relate to and manage your money, as well!
All this presents a conundrum for successful, financially-aware people like you – particularly if you’ve been operating under the spell of what I call the traditional, old-way of thinking about ‘hard work’.
Literally, you tend to work harder for your money than it does for you. Metaphorically, you work harder for your money than it does for you because you don’t have fun managing all aspects of it; so you’re likely to pay less attention to the parts you don’t like.
Another problem: You’re more likely to resist and close your eyes to new information, especially if it contradicts the reality you want to keep or are simply comfortable keeping.
Hard Work: Redefined
It is true: Work is an important element to your success – financial or otherwise. But if we look at ‘work,’ and the results thereof, as a derivative of focused-effort, discipline, consistency, practice, and a willingness to experiment, then the big question becomes: Are you doing what matters when it matters?
Of course, this presupposes you KNOW what matters and when it needs to get done! 🙂
Let me know by leaving a comment!
The Financial Wheel
The exercise & eCourse that will help you get clearer on how the choices you are making (and need to make) affect your life - today and in the future.
I love this post, Jacquette…and perfect timing, as I’ve been debating on when and how to approach raising my rates and putting value on the time I spend in my programs and private clients. This thought process definitely helps me get past those blocks that might keep me from moving forward. Thank you!
Desiree, Many thanks for commenting! I’m so glad it helped. Please loop back with an update…look forward to hearing about your ‘moving forward’ journey and how that impacts the way in which you interact with your clients.
I’ve been exploring this lately. It’s a generational passed on from grandparents to parents to children. It’s the reason why we work hard and play less on this side of the world (North America). Because of the immigrant experience, our ancestors had to work hard to prove themselves worthy of being in this country. Of course, some were forced to come to this side of the world through slavery and that slave mentality of working hard is deeply rooted in our psyche. Both these play into this concept of working hard. But we can – and should – redefine this. I know that my sisters and I have. Instead of getting paid for the labour through our hands, we’re getting paid for the labour through our minds.
Doing what matters when it matters… Now, yes, I do know. Spent a lot of time working hard on (and spending too much money on) things that I thought mattered, but now I know better because I finally yielded and listened to God, my CEO. Grateful for the lessons I learned from it all and now sharing with my clients, local small group members and podcast audience to support and help them avoid some of my mistakes. Thanks for sharing this truly insightful wisdom with us, Jacquette. Good Stuff! #Sharing 🙂 ~Donna