You can show up every day, work really hard, and never really do anything that builds towards a bigger, better, brighter future for yourself. How do you work in a way that will actually help you gain opportunity, fulfillment, and success? Here are 5 strategies that make hard work — work for you!
Hard Work that Works!
Music, movies and motivational podcasts are talking about gaining success by working hard, hustling, and grinding it out. But what should all of this look like on a daily basis for professionals? If you’ve been thinking it means simply showing up and putting in the hours…that may be the reason you’re not seeing the success you want #sorrynotsorry. Maybe at the end of every day you are physically and mentally exhausted. But if your efforts are not strategically focused, your hard work may not be working in your favor. Here are 5 strategies to make your hard work — work for you!
#1 ‘No Excuses’ Attitude.
Excuses have gotten me nowhere, but strategic hard work has gotten me everything, from new opportunities to fulfilling high-level impact throughout the companies I’ve worked for. From this point on choose, NOT to let anything or anyone stand in the way of your professional success #nottodaysatan. Not your laziness, your tiredness, not your stress, not your lack of resources, not the irrelevant negative opinions of others, not your insecurity, not your coworkers, not your job description, NOTHING! Don’t make an excuse, make a way!
#2 Work at work.
When you are at work — WORK. Don’t be distracted by your phone or anything else that is not work-related. If you come to work and you’re distracted by what’s going on at home, with your friends, or with Kylie Jenner, you will not get your work done and may even miss out on big opportunities. If you work when you are at work, then when you get home you don’t have to worry about work!
#3 Build Relationships.
You will spend more time with the people you work with than you will your own family and friends. Invest in your “work family” relationships to add fulfillment and joy to your job. Also, the more people you know the more opportunities you will get. If someone doesn’t know you, they will not think of you when an opportunity comes up! Third, and maybe most important, the more people you know the more opportunities you can GIVE! As a leader, there will be times where you will be the one opening professional doors for other people. What an honor! To make sure you are able to put the right people in the right place, you need to build relationships and broaden your network. Put yourself out there, make the first move to go introduce yourself to someone new, you never know where that might lead… whether to a new friend, a new lesson learned, or a new and better opportunity for you both.
#4 Build Other People Up.
While you are out there fighting for your place in the business world, remember that no honorable person ever achieved success in their career by bringing someone else down. Great leaders look for ways to make the people around them successful. Great leaders look for ways to share the spotlight. Today, and every day, find a reason to put a positive spotlight on someone else!
#5 Be Bold.
Choose to make an impact while you are here…speak up and stand out! What are practical ways you can do this?
There is no shame in asking someone to pause for a second while you go grab a notebook. There is no shame when it comes to pulling out your phone and writing something down in your notes app. When you take notes you are showing the person talking to you that you value what they are saying AND you are giving yourself a resource for later down the road when you need to access that information again. (If you’re new in your job, here are more strategies to implement on your first day!)
Always refer to your notes first and make a concerted effort to find the answer yourself. If you can’t find the answer, be bold enough to GO ASK SOMEONE. Asking the right questions at the right time will not make you look stupid, draw negative attention to you, or make a bad impression. Asking the right questions will provide you with information and probably move you up a notch in the eyes of your boss. A perfectly posed question will show others you are engaged, you are willing to take initiative, and that you want to learn. These are the things management look for when they start looking for people to promote!
If something needs done, don’t wait for someone else to do it — you do it! When you are given a task to complete, do it, then do the hard work to go above and beyond! For example, I once was asked by my boss to do a Succession Plan. This meant I needed to give a recommendation for who would take my place if I left my current position. (See how we are doing our own succession planning at Van Hooser Associates Inc.) I ended up giving a recommendation, but then I went on to present that I would be better suited in another position within the company at that time. The management team agreed and gave me a brand new position (Get the full story here: Ask For Opportunity)! When you seek opportunity, you might just get it! Always do what you are told… then look for a better opportunity for yourself and the company.
Don’t just show up and expect to gain opportunity and success. It won’t happen. When it comes to the hard work that catapults your career→ don’t make excuses-make a way, work at work, build relationships, build other people up, and be bold!
Author: Alyson Van Hooser