If you’ve ever saved for a long-term goal, you know there’s a great deal of sacrifice necessary before the reward. Having to deny yourself the immediate gratification in a moment, knowing something better is in the future, can be one of the most character-defining exercises there is. By practicing and developing that self-discipline, we create the building blocks of what it takes to do your work well. Because, unfortunately, it’s not all bell ringing, confetti, and bonuses.
“The reason most people do not recognize an opportunity when they meet it is because it usually goes around wearing overalls and looking like hard work”
Classic Thomas Edison. Telling it like it is in a way that makes you more self-aware, slightly guilty, and motivated to get things done. It may seem strange to share this perspective so shortly after we talked about ringing the bell and celebrating our success, but it’s purposeful; we, like Thomas Edison, are interested in enlightening people (see what I did there) with the truth. Ringing bells, getting glory, and celebrating the wins is important and great, but it is the result of a lot of unseen, uncelebrated, unglamorous, hard work. Without that gritty, hands-dirty-work, you never get to have the confetti moment.
When you’re in the trenches, punching in a number yet again of a guy who has had his secretary send you directly to voicemail the last four times, you start wondering, “what’s the point?” Remember that you’re not supposed to love every minute of the grind. You’re not expected to find meaning and fulfillment as you agonize over the copy of your tradeshow ad. It’s not going to bring you joy to scrub your pipeline. I could go on and on. I’m not even just talking about sales and marketing. While you’re working out the bugs in a new product, making lesson plans, or laying pipe, the chance that you’re whistling while you work through everything from the catastrophes to the minutia of your daily job is pretty minimal.
That’s okay. It’s called work and you’re expected to toil through days that frankly suck sometimes. Projects and deals drag on. People can be unpredictable, lazy contrarians that seem hell bent on making your job harder.
You need that mild torture because it’s what makes the win, the sale, the final product, the pat on the back all worth it. Success in spite of the obstacles is what makes us grow into stronger, more resilient, more resourceful, more empathetic, mavericks of our industry. You become better, so the work becomes worth it.