We are rarely forced to work extra hours, travel on the weekends, find and meet with mentors, network with customers instead of read a book/watching TV in a hotel room, come up with ideas/strategies for new products/markets, or to learn new skills/tactics that will help us excel and surpass where we are today. The extra effort is a choice. It is a tough, serious, and life changing choice, and just like any other choice of magnitude, the results only come through commitment to change in one’s life. Just like losing weight, or shaking a bad habit, nothing will change unless there is permanent commitment. The changes that we go through in life do not help in maintaining the extra level of effort, which is why the commitment has to be so strong. However, extra effort without a balanced life style will leave us alone and depressed, so don’t confuse this message with “go become a work-aholic”. For balance, the extra effort has to be spread all around.
As an example, there is a certain person I know and idolize for his extra effort. I have known him since high school. He was the valedictorian of our class, super smart, and he got along with everyone. Over the years I have seen him grow and excel while his responsibilities have been magnified. The organization he works with would not be where it is today without him and his continuous choice to put forth the extra effort. He recently had his first child and he is an awesome dad. At first he looked absolutely exhausted, but has since made adjustments. He gets up around 4:30AM to do some work from home, then who knows his schedule from there, but he is surely making time for his family while still getting everything else done. He also makes time to take care of himself. He has continued to be someone in the E2+ range. To do so requires change as life changes, and continous change requires commitment. He is a very successful father and husband, and there is no doubt that he will continue excelling in his career. He spreads the extra effort all around.
The younger genrations have been dubbed with a sense of entitlement and there are all sorts of studies that talk about what we need to do to lead them. However, hard work and extra effort come first. The biggest mistake one can make is waiting to be given an opportunity before they will commit to the extra effort mentality, and it is not just the younger generation that is guilty of this. We hear all the time “If **** happens, I will……” or “When **** happends, I am going to……” Leaders do not wait on anything to put forth the extra effort, and nor do those that make the commitment to ratchet up the effort in everything they do. Those that wait typically believe they were never given an opportunity, and that is very unfortunate because the impact they could have had on themsleves and others is wasted.
At what exponential is your effort level?