Monday Musings, 1: "When Hard Work Is Not Enough"

Do you remember the last time you worked hard and didn't get the results you wanted? The feeling of coming up short even when we give it our best isn't a good feeling. It's a feeling of failure and hopelessness. We think to ourselves, "Hard work. Isn't that the only thing it takes?" The phrase "hard work" has become a staple in a society where all people ever do is brag about how hard they work, how much coffee they consume at 3am, 60+ hour work weeks, and how all of that has somehow led to success. But what do you do when hard work isn't enough?

I often find myself in conversations where I'm asked to explain how I've managed to get ahead and land opportunities that might seem far-fetched to others. My first inclination is to mention how hard I've worked during high school, college, and the past two years to get where I am today. But somehow, that answer is insufficient. It's just wrong. For me, hard work hasn't been the answer. However, it's definitely been a part of it. I'm realizing that when my hard work doesn't help me get very far, I'm able to tap into my inner-beast. My killer instinct. My competitive spirit. My unwavering dedication.

"I'm realizing that when my hard work doesn't help me get very far, I'm able to tap into my inner-beast. My killer instinct. My competitive spirit. My unwavering dedication."

We all have it, but very few people have discovered how to tap into it. If you're a sports fan, you probably know a few athletes who have that so-called "killer instinct." Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams, Tom Brady, the list goes on. They have worked hard and practiced viciously day in and day out throughout their careers. But one thing that separates them from their peers is their inner-beast. Their hunger to succeed. Their disdain for mediocrity.

In the context of jobs and careers, your work ethic is a key factor in your success. But, in order to propel yourself to greater heights, in order to differentiate yourself from the millions of job-seekers who are working just as hard as you are, you have to be hungry (not literally). Don't take anything for granted. Work like someone's trying to take everything away from you. Furthermore, tap into your inner-beast, that uncanny focus, dedication, and competitiveness that makes you ask yourself, "Who the hell am I?"