w is for putting in the work

Successful People Put in the Work

Have you ever wondered how top professionals in their field got to where they are or achieved such great success? I know I have pondered the thought.

Consider these individuals:

Each individual achieved extraordinary success in different areas, but what did they all have in common? Turns out they shared an ability to work at becoming the best at their craft.

While everyone has their own motivation, one thing is for sure: becoming great at something requires focused discipline and time. To emphasize this point, bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the notion that it takes 10,000 hours of purposeful work to master something. It’s worth noting that 10,000 hours equals about 417 days, or about one year and two months. While the time requirement sounds daunting, most people overlook the most critical area of success, which is doing purposeful work.

So, what is purposeful work? Merriam-Webster defines purposeful as meaningful or intentional. In short, doing work with meaning or purpose.

To achieve greatness, you must choose meaningful work and put in the time and effort. So what does that actually look like? It requires:

  • Making Sacrifices. This can be hard since it requires refocusing priorities and time, which will likely result in missing out on some of the fun things personally and professionally. Remember, most of your friends, family, and peers will be content with putting in eight hours a day, but mastery takes around 10,000 hours… 10,000/8 hours per day = 1,250 days or nearly 3.5 years.
  • Dropping the Ego. In the book Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday reveals how an ego if left unchecked, can sabotage your goals. An unchecked ego could limit growth when thinking you are smarter than you really are. Don’t let ego sabotage your success.
  • Doing Something. You can think about stuff all day long, but you will go nowhere until you actually do something. Also, you want to do something that aligns with your daily goal but do it purposefully. Two compelling books which masterfully illustrate this point are The Atomic Habit and The Slight Edge. The goal is to continuously work at something, even the most mundane task until you can do it in your sleep. Small steps each day will move you closer to your goal.
  • Documenting Progress. Journaling or making notes of your work daily is vital. This quick and easy process doesn’t require long entries, just the opposite. Entries should be short and concise and include things like how long you practiced a task. What were the results for the day? Where do you need to improve, or what areas do you need to do more work on? Be objective, be critical, and most of all, do the work!
  • Planning for Setbacks. Unfortunately, not every effort will be immediately satisfying. In fact, depending on the task, it might take a while before any significant breakthroughs occur. However, persistence in doing the work will inevitably make you better.
  • Being Flexible and Open-minded. Depending on the objective, variables change, resulting in better or worse outcomes. Case in point, YouTube started out as a way to share funny videos and is now a premiere place to learn a plethora of topics. It was recently bought by Google for around $1.6B. Yes, the B means billion.

Putting in the work to achieve a goal may seem like a lot. Friends, make no mistake, it is. If it required no effort, everyone would be successful. However, know that simple daily steps compounded over time allow you to reach greatness. After all, even the best marathon runners started life crawling.

I leave you with a great quote by Dave Ramsey, “Pray like it all depends on God, but work like it all depends on you.” Wow! When thinking about that quote, it seems even God put in the work when he created the earth and all that inhabits it.

I encourage you to set goals, put in the work to achieve them, and leave your friends and family in awe when you launch that business, earn that degree, learn a new skill, get that new job, write that book, or whatever it is you set out to accomplish.

Do you have a thought, comment, or experience about putting in the work? Please share.

As always, I am cheering for you!




About Vision to Purpose

Dr. Jeannine Bennett is the founder and CEO of Vision to Purpose, an organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed through the offering of tailored career, business, and writing solutions.

We specialize in helping people get jobs and writers become published authors! Need a resume writer? How about a writing coach? Perhaps a business consultant? Look no further; Dr. Bennett and the Vision to Purpose team can help! You can learn more about Vision to Purpose by visiting www.visiontopurpose.com.

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