If you’ve been around teenagers in the last 5-10 years, you understand the negative connotation around a seemingly positive character trait of trying hard. Apparently, somewhere along the way trying hard became a negative thing.
Kids will openly harass friends and teammates for putting, what they deem as, too much energy and effort into any task. If you have to work really hard at something, then clearly you aren’t good at it. After all, if you were good, then you wouldn’t have to try hard to do it well, duh.
In an effort to be liked and fit in, many teenagers cave to the heckling and join the crowd of underachievers. Unfortunate, but true. And it doesn’t just apply to teenagers.
Why Should We Care? Out of high school and in the real world one would think that hard work would always be valued - not the case. At least kids call it what it is - trying hard. In the adult world, we prefer to make excuses for why we can’t commit or work hard.
Some claim to not have enough time, which of course is nothing more than admitting to ineffectively managing the same time we all have. Other priorities become excuses to avoid fully committing to the one right in front of them.
Others play the indifferent card. Far better to pretend you don’t care, or it’s not important, than to commit fully and risk not being quite enough. Afterall, if I ‘try hard’ at work and don’t get the promotion then I’ve failed. If I ‘try hard’ as a parent and my child gets poor grades or in trouble outside of school then I’ve failed.
So, what’s the point?
One of the identities people most try to avoid is the only path to excellence. The road to excellence is narrow, but hard work and full commitment are undoubtedly on it.
REAL TALK - Action Steps It’s our responsibility to help those we lead lean into this necessity for hard work. Don’t shy away from it, don’t try to soften it, and don’t act like excellence in anything is attainable without it. It takes what it takes.
Face the Gritty Facts
Never shy away from stating exactly what it is going to take to get the job done. The more challenging, the better for high achievers. They want the challenge, they thrive in the uncertainty of knowing whether or not they can get it done. And for those not in that category, you are providing them with a clear picture of the expectations. From there, it’s their choice.
Share your Gritty Faith
Dealing hope is what I like to call it, but the confidence that your team is special and that they are capable of completing the mission is vital. From the leader, they need to hear yes it’s going to be hard and yes we’ll face adversity. But, also yes - this group is special and together we can get it done. No doubt, no question - we can do it!
Say No or Hell Yea
Trying hard is the only way to anything of substance and anything worth your time. If it’s something you are not inspired to work hard at, then say no. If you say yes, then there is only one way to proceed.
Embrace the work that’s required to achieve excellence. Don’t soften it and don’t pretend like it won’t be hard. Those we want on the journey with us will not only choose it but they’ll thrive in it.
For more information on building excellence in your teams, visit us at www.bluecollargrit.com. We would love to know how we could help!