06 December 2017

The road to business success is not exclusively through hard work — it takes much more than that

There are literally a plethora of quotes about hard work, and no one can really question its importance in wanting to accomplish something, not only in business but in any endeavor. Hard work is usually what separates someone from those who are not willing to exert extra effort to get what they want.

But more often than not, hard work isn’t enough to attain success, especially in the dynamic and evolving world of business.

So whenever you hear people attributing their success to hard work alone, I’m afraid they’re not being very truthful. There’s always a lot more going on in the background in order for them to keep their business thriving, and while hard work is a major factor, that’s not the entire story.

Hard work doesn’t always mean being productive

You may exert yourself in any number of ways while doing a certain task, but it won’t necessarily get you closer to your goals just because you’re ‘working hard’. As a business owner, at times you will be tempted to try to accomplish as much as you can in a day and push yourself to the limit, and that’s working hard. But does that equate to productivity? Not always. What if you actually ended up using your time and energy working on something you could have delegated to someone else? In that case, you were not productive, because that time and energy could have been spent on something more important and worthy of your hard work.

You can’t come up with a good business idea just by working hard

For most — if not all — business owners, good ideas come as random, unpredictable strokes of inspiration that they pursue and develop later on. You can’t summon brilliant thinking no matter how hard you work, and if you try, it’ll probably drive you mad. These rare moments of mental breakthroughs usually determine the fate of a business, because everything that would follow will be revolving around that good idea. It’s something that does or doesn’t happen, and hard work has nothing to do with it.

Working hard versus working smart

One can always spend countless hours working on something or solving a problem, but there’s a hard limit to this ‘brute force’ approach. There are only so many hours in the day, and sometimes, you need to be creative enough to find alternative routes and maximising those hours. Why spend 12 hours when somebody else can do it in half the time and produce similar results? Unfortunately, hard work does not yield creativity.

Hard work will wear you out 

Work too hard can have detrimental effects, and it’s going to catch up with you. The more you stress out your body, the less productive and effective you become. Sometimes hard work can do more harm than good, especially if you refuse to believe that there are other ways to be productive: you can leverage automation, or you can rely on your team and learn how to delegate tasks. That way, you can allocate more focus and energy on the thing that really matters — growing your business.

We all need help sometimes

There’s a certain level of honor in wanting to work hard for your business, and that’s admirable. But working hard alone will not guarantee results, and you have to open yourself up to more opportunities to reach your goals other than just ‘having a go at it with all your might’. Trust the people around you and develop that thirst for personal development so you can be more effective as a leader without burning yourself out.

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