In Action, Focus, Leaders

“Today is life – the only life you are sure of.  Make the most of today.  Get interested in something.  Shake yourself awake.  Develop a hobby.  Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you.  Live today with gusto.” – Dale Carnegie

Last week in this space we talked about working hard, and the reality that having a great vision and a great strategy and all that other stuff is only the beginning.  At some point you have to put in the energy and effort to getting things moving.

The fact that I would even bring that up suggests that I think some people really aren’t working that hard, or that they’re lazy, or that they don’t really care.  I suppose there are people like that out there, but I don’t run into them very often.  Most leaders really do care, and most of them work very hard.

But there’s working hard, and there’s working hard with energy.  Think of it in terms of sleep.  If you don’t sleep for a week and then go run a marathon, it probably won’t go as well as if you slept well leading up to the race.  That doesn’t mean the non-sleeper isn’t working hard.  It just means there isn’t as much in the tank.

The point of this isn’t about getting enough sleep, although that’s a big deal.  The point is that passion has the same impact.  If you’re working at a task you don’t care about and doesn’t really interest you, you might still work hard, but the results probably won’t be earth-shattering.  Maybe adequate, but not a lot better than that.

But if you’re working at a task that you’re on fire over and it’s the most interesting part of your life, your hard work has a much higher ceiling.  If you were doing something like that and the results were just adequate, you’d be really disappointed.

Nothing in those last two paragraphs is rocket science.  Yet how many people are currently spending most of their time doing stuff they’re not passionate about?  My encounters with leaders have convinced me that number is pretty high.

Are you passionate about what you’re doing?  I know not every minute of every day is filled with your favorite chores, but take a step back and look at the big picture.  Are you fired up about what you’re doing?  If we’re watching sports and an athlete looks disinterested, we tell them they should be ashamed of themselves, and that if they don’t really want to be out there then the team should find somebody else.  Are we doing the same things in our careers & in our businesses?

What do you really care about?  Are you spending your time doing that?  Or are you just working hard without energy, striving to be simply adequate?

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