Hard Work is Not a Shortcut to Success
We all want to believe hard work pays of, and it does, but at 1 point, you can’t work any harder, you work smarter.
The Big Q: How do I work smarter?
The Big A: Learning from someone who is smarter, and already been where you want to go. It sounds simple, it is not.
Below is a list of things that you have to do, as follows:
1. Don’t Go It Alone — Get a Guide
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” — Benjamin Franklin
In any great story, there is a point in the journey when the hero meets an obstacle he cannot overcome.
This is the moment when the guide arrives.
This is the essence of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey: you cannot succeed without someone wiser to show you the way, a mentor.
When The Dream became a reality it is because you found a guide.
You do not work any harder but you do work smarter , because someone showed you the way.
You meet the right people, connected with the right networks, and practice your art/craft in the right way, that is the shortcut.
And you make your own luck, you do not “get lucky”
2. Do Not Reinvent the Wheel, Learn from Others
“True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art, but in the development of character.” ―David O. McKay
Now, how do you find a guide, a mentor?
That is not easy, as mentors are busy people. And your “mentor” may not just be 1 person, but a Team of people.
In Jeff Goin’s book, The Art of Work, he call this an “accidental apprenticeship.” The idea here is that if you pay attention to your life and the people who are in it, you will find there are those around you right now whom you can learn from.
So, the best mentor is the one that is right in front of you.
Still, you willwant to be intentional about getting into relationship with this person. There are Key steps to follow:
- Make your 1st task small: Do not lead with, “Will you mentor me?” Instead, ask for a few minutes of their time, have an Organic coffee together, that’s a good start.
- Make it all about them. Get him.her/them to tell their story. Ask specific questions about choices they made in their own success journey and why. Come prepared with questions, talk as little as possible and listen. Be informed, interested, and make the meet memorable.
- Take notes. But in your mind, not on paper, When you meet with this person, remember everything they say. Honor wisdom by capturing it in your mind. Remember, you are not a reporter or a lawyer taking a deposition.
- Follow up. This is Key, and most often overlooked secret to getting into relationship with person/s of influence who could/can/will become your mentor or part of your team of mentors. The follow up is a thank-you e-Mail for sharing their wisdom.
- Become a case study. This is the best thing you can do to earn the attention of that person of influence. Take a piece of advice this person has given you and apply it, showing that you are someone worth investing in. Do this enough times, and people will be lining up to give you their time, attention, and ideas. Because the truth is just about everyone wants to help someone who is going places.
For more on this, check out Jeff’s article: How to Find a Mentor in 10 Not-so-easy Steps.
3. Do not Succumb to Scarcity — Embrace Abundance
“True success is overcoming the fear of being unsuccessful.” — Paul Sweeney
This refusal to succumb to the scarcity mindset changes everything. When you let go of your perceived scarcity and embrace abundance (thankfulness), it changes so many things:
- Scarcity kills creativity. Abundance expands it.
- Scarcity creates fear. Abundance makes us brave.
- Scarcity pushes people away. Abundance attracts people.
This is the better way to live than to assume the alternative, that being that everyone is out to get you and there is no way you will succeed.
Once you experience abundance, you will have an opportunity to help others, which is one of the greatest rewards of success (mindfulness).
It will take hard/smart work. But, it will improve the chances for success.
Again, you cannot just work harder.
You have to work smarter.
Finding the right guides to help you is an integral part of that process. Do not manage time, multiply it.
Be strategic, but not so strategic it stifles the relationship. But be intentional with your time and focus it on those who will give you a return on your investment. I guarantee you this is how your would-be mentors are thinking.
Here is the Bottom Line: Success is simple; do what is right, the right way, at the right time.
How does this work?
Lesson 1: You can get where you want faster if you follow in someone else’s footsteps.
Find a guide or mentor you can learn from and emulate, even from afar. This is the difference between those who continuously struggle and those who find a faster way to succeed. Humble yourself and trust that there are those out there who want to help you.
Lesson 2: Learn from other people’s experiences to grow your own capacity.
In other words, don’t waste years trying to figure things out. Instead, sacrifice time and money to accelerate your learning. Invest in opportunities that allow you to learn from the successes and failures of others. That might mean taking a course, hiring a coach, or working for free for a certain period of time in exchange for experience.
Lesson 3: When opportunity seems limited, change your mind.
Geography matters, but mindset matters more, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the hill. And chances are, there is an opportunity closer than you realize. You just might have to move towards it before it will come closer to you.
Do these things, and you will see your luck increase, as you are now making your own luck
Do not sit around and wait for things to happen — for mentors to come find you and for opportunities to fall in your lap.
That thing called luck often is hiding in the hard-to-reach places that most people are too timid to approach.
Look for opportunities, see the shortcuts, make it happen, and always be thankful for your blessings.