Work is humility.
It’s one of the most basic ways we can express that we’re not as good as we need to be.
Consider the opposite.
A lack of work very clearly communicates a sense of entitlement or complacency. One thing a lack of work is never mistaken for is humility.
And … if you haven’t noticed, there is a significant difference in what people consider “hard work”. The mere difference in this standard is fascinating. How can one person grind out six hours of deeply focused work and consider it a normal day, while another person drifts through surface level duties and views it as hard work? Or one person considers a single hour long workout “hard work” while another person will do that three times in a single day and view it as normal.
I have some ideas on the reasons behind this disparity, but we all know the difference this performance leads to. And, it’s significant.
Why Should We Care?
As a leader, it’s unrealistic to expect those we lead to work harder than us. Not that it won’t happen from time to time, but it should never be the expectation. While this may look like overtime and long hours on occasion, that is not the standard we should be striving towards.
Presence is the standard - being where we are, when we’re there. Maintaining mindfulness and attention to the current task at hand has become a superpower for those that have mastered it.
Our purpose for the work we are doing is significant as well. The stronger the purpose, the less we view time as a constraint to meet. It’s also precisely why our purpose should be supported by values that we hold close and be applicable to all aspects of our life.
One set of values at work and another set of values at home doesn’t function well.
You have values. That’s it. There is no work you and home you. Your values are your values.
This distinction is important because our values form our standards. Our standards decide how we define “hard work” if we are living in alignment. Low standards for “hard work” can typically be connected to a lack of purpose, lack of core values/beliefs, or a disconnect between who we are and who we say we want to be.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Work is also revealing. It accurately reflects several important aspects of our personality and standards. Here are a few areas our work serves as our voice.
Work is often a paradox. It can provide strength yet fatigue, insight yet confusion, fulfillment yet struggle. Our relationship with work is an important one. Many of our dreams will be realized, or not, on the simple grounds of work.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.