I recently spent time reviewing business plans for students who want to open their own business. They had twenty minutes to present their case. My job was to view their data and ask them the hard questions, ask them about their decisions making, ask them things to probe into their critical thinking. It was a interesting evening. There were students who proved they did the work, they crunched the numbers and could talk about their entire business from beginning to end. Others struggled and had a harder time answering questions off the cuff, it was obvious they had not done the work.
We all want to believe in people, and we want people to believe in us. My evening with students reminded me that we are drawn to people who have done the work. The numbers don’t lie, not just because in math there is only one right answer. Seeing the fruits of someone’s labors, the math, the details, the reality that they have worked to create shows up in more than just numbers. It shows in their character, their passion, their commitment to excellence and their ability to ‘see’ things from beginning to end. It shows up in how they answer questions and how they react to criticism. The hard work shows up in the wholeness of their idea and in the implementation of that idea.
Not everyone wants to do the work. Some people just want to do enough to get by, enough to show they have done something but not enough to reach excellence. Hard work pays off, but it’s still hard. It takes time and effort and energy, which means you have less time left for other things. Hard work takes focus which can be hard to maintain over long periods of time.
So what are you willing to work hard for? What has your attention, time and effort enough for you to run the numbers all the way through to the end? Anything worth doing is worth doing right, so roll up your sleeves and do the work. You can’t fake it, people are smarter than you think. Just do the work and let it show. Your life and ideas are worth it.