Putting in the Work

Make sure that you are not the one who is riding the coattails of someone else’s hard work. Be sure that you put in the time and energy to be proud of what you do. EVERY DAY!

There have been times in all of our careers where we rode the wave of someone else’s success. My question is how long did that last and did you really learn anything from the experience? I’ll bet that it didn’t last very long and that you did not learn very much. If you do feel like you learned, a lot take a moment to look back and see how much you could have learned by making your own wave.

The first thing to do if you feel that you are riding the success of someone else to re-evaluate the situation. Ask yourself some questions to help determine if it’s really true. Some of the questions I ask are:

Am I living my purpose?
What did I do to get here?
Do I deserve this glory?
Did I put in the time to get here?
What am I doing to move to next level?
Who am I influencing while I’m here?

There are many more questions that you could ask these are just a few that I ask myself.

What is your purpose in life?

That is one of the questions that I ask myself almost daily. Why was I put here on this earth and what is my true purpose. For me there are several different answers to that question. One is that I am here to help spread the word of God while helping others. Another reason I’m here is to help push the limits, in a good way. I help to push other to the next level. I am also supposed to be a good dad, husband, and friend. After I remind myself of my purpose, I have to ask, am I living to my purpose? What can I do to live to my purpose better? What is your purpose?

How did I get here?

One of the harder questions to answer in my opinion. When I was in the corporate world, I used to think how did I get here. Traveling, staying in nice hotels, eating great food, meeting awesome people. Out of everyone in the company, how did I get to that position? Why me? As I dug deeper into the question, I would humbly come to the realization that it was both a blessing and a curse. While I enjoyed every aspect of my position, I disliked every aspect as well. I was traveling 50% of the time, that meant that I was missing 50% of my kids life as well as not sleeping with my wife 50% of the time. Staying in nice hotels meant that I didn’t get the chance to enjoy my comfortable bed and cuddling with my wife. Eating great food meant that my body suffered because I was in different parts of the country every week. I missed my home cooked meals and eating as a family every night. Meeting awesome people, well there is no substitute for that and no down side to meeting new people. What I did discover was that I was still living my purpose for the time. I was being used to help others that I would normally have never met.

I have been on the other side of that situation as well. I rode the success of someone else in the past and it didn’t last very long. I was where I thought I wanted to be but it wasn’t where I needed to be. I didn’t put in the time and expected the success. Have you ever been there before? Looking for a “get rich” life without putting in any of the work?

What did I do to deserve this glory?

I ask myself this question every day, and every time something happens, that is good. Did I put in the work to deserve this or am I just accepting the gift? I have worked with those who were always looking for a handout, not a hand-up. It’s hard for me personally because I’m a very giving person. I absolutely love to give to others, even when they don’t deserve it. I have learned that there are people in the world who are so used to having everything handed to them that they stop trying. They start expecting others to give them a handout. I have been there before and don’t want to go back to that. I would much rather someone give me a hand-up and help me get on my feet with advice and encouragement. Then I, would they give me a gift that I don’t deserve?

Here’s something that i have actually done in the past. I had a manager offer me a jacket. Instead of taking the jacket, I told them, “Give me 2 weeks to get this project completed. If it’s done to your expectations then I’ll take the jacket. If it’s not done correctly then you keep the gift.” This did two things. First, it made me accountable and gave me a reward for completing the project and doing a great job. Second, it allowed my boss to give me more rewards in the future because they felt like it was a major incentive. Take a moment to think back have you ever accepted a gift that you didn’t deserve?

Did I put in the time to get here?

If you are hard on yourself, than this question will most likely be, NO. When I ask myself this question my answer is mostly no. Nevertheless, the more I think about it the more I realize that I am being too hard on myself. There are some other questions you can ask to help determine if you really did though. Start with, how much have I been working on this. Notice i didn’t ask you how long you have been working on it, but how much. There is a huge difference. I have been working on some projects for years and they are still not complete. The difference is that while they have been unfinished for years I haven’t really put much time into them to get them completed.

Another question you can ask is how dedicated you were. You are the only who can answer this question. Your dedication will greatly alter the outcome of how much effort you really put into the project.

The last question that I ask myself is, do I truly believe in the project? I have found myself being forced to work on a project that I know nothing about. I didn’t believe in it. There have also been times where I never took the time to learn what the project was really about therefore I didn’t put in enough effort to really sell the project.

What am I doing to move to next level?

Each and every thing that we do should be pushing us to level up. Otherwise, why are we doing it? Let’s go back to our childhood for a few moments and think about Miro brothers. When you played, why did you smash every block? To try to get coins and or a mushroom. Why did you raise each flag? Therefore, you wouldn’t have to start from the beginning every time you failed. Life is very similar to a game. Everything you do is for a reason. The first time you do it, you might not realize that it is for a reason though. I constantly think about how I am going to move to the next stage of my life and what the end goal is. I still make mistakes every day. There are definitely days where I jump on turtle, then jump again to make him slide off and send him the wrong direction. Then out of nowhere, he come flying back and makes me small again. I fail every day. However, I don’t look at them as failures I look at them as opportunities to grow. Think about what you are doing to help move you to the next level.

Who am I influencing while I’m here?

We all influence others every day. Even if you don’t see anyone, you are still influencing someone. My wife and I post pictures to Facebook frequently. We both have one thing that we ask ourselves before we post a picture, what kind of memory will this bring back in 1-10 years? If it’s not a positive memory then we don’t post the pic. We do this because we absolutely love the memory’s that come up on our feed. We also think about everyone who follows us and we always want to portray a positive image for him or her. It’s not a fake life, it’s a real life. That’s why if you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, you won’t see me complain.

While I was traveling for past jobs I used to ask myself every trip who did, I influence and was it in a positive way. I am ashamed to say that there a few times that I had to go back on my next trip and apologize for not being a positive influence. What kind of influence are you providing for those around you? Look back at your old posts and see if you can improve the way you communicate with your community.

In the end you are the only who can determine if you are putting the work. It comes down to you and you are the only one who will ever TRULY know if you did the work or if you skirted by on someone else’s hard work. Don’t be the person always asking for a HANDOUT. Instead, be the person who is giving a HAND-UP to those around you.

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