Despite that introductory sentence I’m not lazy. Far from it actually. I just simply refuse to work hard or put in hard work. By now I’m almost positive you have basically written me off as another entitled and lazy millennial, but before you totally dismiss me let’s backtrack and define some things first. I like definitions because although English is super subjective it at least allows us to have a baseline to start from.
"Hard is defined as difficult to do or accomplish, fatiguing or troublesome and involves a great deal of effort and energy and can be unendurable and oppressive."
That sounds … ROUGH … who would willingly sign up for that? Not I. No thank you. Especially when we’ve got options! Very real options like working smart instead!
"Smart is defined as having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability while also being clever, witty, or readily effective"
If you had to choose which would you pick? Based solely on the definitions provided above would you prefer to work hard or work smart? I choose smart every day of the week. And no matter what has been ingrained in your head that you’re not doing well unless you’re working hard you too can choose to work smart. What you highlight is what is magnified. Agreeing that you must work hard for the things you desire is to say it will always be difficult to accomplish, it will make you tired and require a lot of energy and it will be unendurable and oppressive. Again, who would willingly sign up for that? No matter what your desired goal or destination is you can work smart to achieve it using these three simple, yet effective methods that will give you the advantage:
1. Seek out mentors
How do you get anywhere you’ve never been? Simple answer right? Directions, map or GPS. The latter is the most effective as it gives turn by turn instructions and re-routes you each time you take a wrong turn. A good mentor is synonymous to a GPS. They’ve traveled exactly to where you’re going. They’ve developed the relationships you need, have access to the doors you want to walk through and will re-route you when you’re headed in the wrong direction. Mentors help to make your journey efficient and effective. And trust me I get it, I used to be stubborn as a mule (I’ve since been delivered), but I came to the understanding there were some doors (more than not) that if I wasn’t escorted in by someone who already had the access I desired getting there would take me three times as long. That is a work hard attribute and being very results-oriented that “I can do it myself’ attitude was and is NOT a viable option. Seeking and listening to your mentors is how you work smart!
2. Leverage & expand your networks
Take a look at last 5 people in your call log. Seriously, take out your phone and look. Now take a look at the text messages in your phone. What’s your common trend? It’s important that you’re completely honest; and no you never have to tell me or anyone else for that matter who those 5 people are or what your text messages reveal. Personal growth is just that – personal. However, take a very good look at where your focus and priorities lie. Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. Elevation is possible, but many times not without separation and the understanding my mentor, Henry L. Porter, ingrained in me my entire life:
“If you always do what you’ve done, you’ll always have what you’ve always had.
– Henry Ford”
Let’s say you’re starting from ground zero and you have no real network to leverage or even look to. That’s fine too, Google, will be your best friend as you expand your network. Google the decision makers in your desired industry and take a look at the events they host and support then go and volunteer (if available). While at the event connect (actually exchange contact information) with the management and support individuals and just like that you’ve just expanded your network. Yes, it’s that easy to start. It’s not very comfortable, but that’s okay no great thing came from a comfortable position. After the event be sure to email those connections within 72 business hours and be sure you include a memorable piece of the conversation in the email. Just as you’d build any other relationship you will need to build and establish this one also. Establishing a relationship then allows you the opportunity to leverage those relationships to achieve what you desire.
Remember, your good name is your most valuable asset. In all you do be genuine! A fake anything can be smelled a mile. Your goal is to build a network that you will be able to leverage and being deceitful, dishonest or insincere will not yield your desired results for very long.
3. Develop creative ways to connect directly to what you need and desire.
I know that last one is like saying, "Go be awesome!" The first thing that comes to mind is, "Um, yeah okay sure. I'll go do that." So, this one requires you to sit and think. You are creative. Especially those who feel they aren’t. Go somewhere with me: everything that exists began as an idea. A thought that things do not have to continue as they were and in solving that problem you are ... say it with me ... being creative! Being creative is simply approaching a problem, situation or instance differently! Take a good look at what you do and can provide, then take an even better look at what your desired connection is in need of, now write out different scenarios, options and opportunities that you can take advantage of to connect with them.
Remember, everything that exists (outside of the natural elements) was created by a human, you are a human so you are more than capable of using what you have to create what you need and there is someone else in the world in need of what you provide.
Working smart is not at all saying you will not put in the very necessary work to achieve your goals. Working smart is simply learning to be strategic in your approach and action plan. The savings in time, energy and sweat equity free you up to create even more ideas to help you achieve even bigger, grander goals. So no, I will never work “hard” again. Smart work is the best work!