“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” – Suzanne Evans
How you act when motivation is lacking is a major indicator of where your heart is at. Are you in it to win it or nah? As my good friend Troy Bolton would say: “You gotta getcha, getcha head in the game.”
Without a solid work ethic, you aren’t going to accomplish your goals. Period. I can tell you this with 100% confidence because I am currently working my butt off and it’s an inch by inch battle.
There are some factors that have played a major role in my life when it comes to my drive/work ethic. I decided to share a few of the practical ones here. They were game changers for me, perhaps they’ll be the same for you!
For real, aside from my upbringing, and watching my dad be the hardest worker in the room literally 100% of the time, a disciplined, consistent, intense workout routine has been the number one way of instilling the drive to work hard.
There is this critical moment during a really intense workout where you find yourself at war in your mind. You’re sweating profusely. Your heart rate is through the roof. Your mouth is dry. Your body is screaming at you telling you to stop, and your brain is wanting to listen. It is in this moment where a choice has to be made. A choice to either push past the discomfort or to quit. In a split-second, you decide one way or another. One choice is easy and feels really dang good. One choice refines you, makes you better and feels like literal death.
I like to think that more often than not, I do the hard thing and push myself. Not trying to toot my own horn here, but it’s something that has been forged in me. Every time that I go to the gym, I try to purpose in my heart that quitting is not an option. Then, I practice. I do a hard workout on Monday. I practice not giving up. I do a hard workout on Tuesday. I practice not giving up. Over and over again, I practice. This practice over years of time, this repetition, has programmed me. When I face adversity, hardship, fatigue, discomfort, fear, I lean into it and grin a little bit. Because I know I’m getting better. Call me a masochist, but I like to think it has more to do with big picture vision.
- My Circle.
Who you surround yourself with directly correlates to the type of person you are. If you find yourself being an apathetic, passive individual look at who you hang with. Chances are, they are apathetic and passive. I am intentional about who I spend my time with and who I allow into my inner circle. They have to be up to snuff. If they aren’t, we won’t be close. Not mean, just true. This doesn’t mean that I exclusively associate myself with only a certain echelon of people, quite contrary, I try to invest time in anyone from any background. I’m specifically talking about those friends that you consider family. You have to protect that circle and fill it with people who you are better than you. If you find yourself choosing friends who don’t challenge you or who don’t make you better, you’re being an idiot.
It’s hard to be honest about this sometimes. Distancing yourself from “friends” who are pulling you down can be hard and painful. I’m not telling you to go clean house. I’m also not telling you to black list your lazy friends. But YOU have to do what is best for YOU and YOUR family. So, move forward with this thought at the forefront of your mind.
Quick side note: money is NOT always directly correlated to work ethic. Some of the hardest working folks I know live the most modest lives and have small incomes. I’m not telling you to distance from friends because they don’t have a good enough social status, but because they have crappy character traits. If you’re doing the former, stop it. The janitor, the CEO, the police officer, the Lawyer, the construction worker, the orthopedic surgeon, they ALL deserve respect. Unless, of course, they don’t. Which has everything to do with character, in my book, and NOTHING to do with money. Sure, you can make a lot of money because you worked hard for it, but just because you’re a hard worker doesn’t mean you make a lot of money. #truefact
- Get Uncomfortable.
The reason this is different than fitness is because discomfort comes in many different forms. Emotional, physical, mental, etc… Find the edge of your comfort zone, then take a bulldozer and doze straight over the edge. It will make you better on many levels. Promise.
How does it relate to work ethic you may wonder? Well, I’m glad you asked! If you aren’t doing things that suck, you aren’t growing. Discomfort produces growth. Consequently, discomfort doesn’t come naturally to humans. We want what feels good. We want what’s easy. But in order to grow, you MUST actively seek out discomfort and force yourself to embrace it. By actively seeking and doing, you are practicing decision making, mental fortitude and follow through. All of which feed into work ethic. Do things that makes you uncomfortable.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – James Hobart
Not eating like a butthole has leveled up my work ethic. How? Because it takes hard work to be consistently conscious of not only the quantity of food I’m putting in my body, but also, the quality. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Not only do I feel better, but I feel, to a degree, in control of myself.
I can very easily become obsessive about this though. So, I have to keep myself in check. Remembering that food and life are to be enjoyed not forever restricted and always monitored. However, having self-control in this area hammers self-control into the other areas of life. And let me tell ya, it’s a key component of drive and work ethic. Fo sho.
Wait. What? Yes. I hate it. Give me a book that has the words “Now a major motion picture!” on the front and I’ll want to hand it right back because I’d much rather just watch the film. Isn’t that awful? No. Not really. It’s just the way I’m wired. But that’s not an excuse to be not read. Reading has been an ESSENTIAL contributor to my work ethic! I once had the following conversation with a mentor:
Mentor: “Do you like to read?”
Me: “No. Not really.”
Mentor: “Well, suck it up.”
End of conversation.
This was a real talk we had. Ha. Brief, but the kick in the butt I needed to begin educating myself. There’s a saying I once saw written on the wall in someone’s personal library, it said: “Read to Lead.” And that’s the truth. Aside from the obvious applications of what any given book that I’m reading may be about, reading has reaffirmed in me a few lessons… To name a few:
Patience: I can only read so dadgum fast.
Follow Through: You didn’t read it if you didn’t finish the whole thing. IMO.
Prioritization: You have to carve out time for it.
And much more, but all of which are essential to gaining and maintain good, focused drive. I’m telling you that reading is key to leadership and work ethic. How can you expect to captain your own ship if you can’t lead well? You can’t. Leading well requires the ability to work consistently and intensely over time. If you must read to lead, it would only make sense that you must also read to forge the mind and qualities of a great leader. Work ethic and reading are directly related. I’m convinced.
- Getting Up Earlier.
Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakie. When that alarm goes off at 5:45 AM I want to throw my phone through the wall. But I get up. Because I have realized that if I want to accomplish my goals, I have to make time for them. I also know that I have stuff to do and If I don’t get up, it won’t all get done.
I was the kind of guy that wanted to go to sleep early and wake up late. I enjoy sleep. But just like anything in our lives, sleep can be abused. It’s important to have self-control (Aye! There’s that quality again!) and to regulate your sleep.
To my surprise, I have found that I’m most productive in the mornings! My mind is fresh and ready to conquer the tasks at hand. You should try it; it’s invigorating. No, but really, it can be hard to get into a routine, but you’ll be glad you did. You just have to start.
I have also found, that if I sleep a lot, I become lethargic and don’t want to work. Yes, I’m telling you less sleep = more energy. Too much sleep = less energy. I don’t know the science, just my experience.
To wrap this puppy up, I wanted to provide you with some resources to get kick start your journey in one, if not all, of the areas mentioned above!
Fitness: I’m a huge advocate of CrossFit if done safely and correctly. Find a local “box” near you. They are pretty much everywhere. Yeah, it may be on the expensive end as far as gyms go, but the community and hands on coaching is worth it. Not to mention, it’s a piss ton cheaper than all the doctor bills you’re going to have if you don’t workout and eat right. Just saying. IF you just can’t afford it, then join a regular gym and guess what, crossfit.com puts all of their programming online for free. 😉 You’re welcome.
My Circle: We The Heroes Community FB group is waiting on you. This is a space I created where likeminded, determined, dreamer/doers can engage with one another and connect. Don’t miss out! It’s starting to get LIT with valuable content and the more people like YOU that join and interact, the better it will get.
Get Uncomfortable: See point #1. OR pick the first thing that popped into your head when you think of what would make you uncomfortable and DO IT. It doesn’t have to just be physical discomfort. It could be tracking down that long-lost friend that crap hit the fan with and attempting to work things out. That’s really uncomfortable. Make yourself do something that gets you out of that comfort zone. I promise you won’t regret it.
Food: I’m a BIG believer in Flexible Dieting. It has been nutritionally freeing for me, as well as, results driven. Getting your food sitch under control is important for, not just your work ethic, but also, your overall health. Heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease are the leading causes of death. Your nutrition is DIRECTLY related to all of these illnesses. Good nutrition is the foundation for a healthy life. I would highly recommend that you check out Zach Rocheleau’s theflexibledietinglifestyle.com to get you started on your journey. Food was created to be enjoyed, but not abused. Make it happen. Get yourself under control, brah!
Reading: I have some recommendations for you…
- Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines – it’s a great read if you are getting your feet wet in the entrepreneurial world and want to hear about real life from a real person.He’s as transparent as it gets and SO freaking funny. He even takes an intermission in the middle of the book.
- Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin – I’m about half way through this book and it is RIDDLED with value bombs. These guys are both ex US Navy Seals who share their experiences in combat leadership and parallel how it applies to everyday life and business. Killer read. (No pun intended.)
- The Bible by God – If you haven’t read the Bible, now is the time to start. But I don’t believe in that crap, Judd? Ok…? I didn’t ask if you believed it. Aside from the fact that I believe it is true, it is FULL of practical life lessons and teaches you how to love and respect others. News flash: if you don’t learn how to treat others correctly, you will never be successful and respected. I’m telling you, the Bible is where it’s at: action, adventure, love, the whole shebang. I recommend the English Standard Version.
Getting up earlier: Set your alarm for earlier, doofus. It’s that simple. Just do it.
Photo Creds: Evan Pierce // @evanpierceprod // evanpierceproductions.com