Hard work vs. Work Hard

Sleeping when studying - Nakhon Sawan, Thailand

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I looked like I had dengue fever.  I was ready to drop.  I just finished a 9 hour training event.  The new twins were kicking my ass. I slept 2 hours the night before.   I worked hard the entire day.   I gave 110% of my energy.  The training event did not go well.  It didn’t go poorly.  It just wasn’t what it could have been.

I recovered from exhaustion  for the next two days.  I fought to stay in bed.  I hated it.  But if I didn’t rest I would have been seriously compromised.  With the twins here, we can’t afford for me to be down … Jen carries too much of the load already.  It was hard work. I had to realize why I was doing it and stick to it.  But I stayed in bed doing nothing.

Working hard is all about effort.  The person who works hard doesn’t necessarily know what they are working toward or how they’d get there if they did.  They’re just flailing in effort.  It doesn’t necessarily amount to a valuable outcome … or any outcome.

Hard work is about discipline, insight making difficult decisions.  It’s deciding where you want to go.  Choosing possible paths to get there.  Creating flexible approaches to travel the paths.  And having the discipline to stick to the mission and re-evaluate course when needed.

Hard work put together with working hard can produce amazing results.  Working hard without doing the hard work produces frustration, exhaustion and wasted time.

If you have to choose between the two, do the hard work.  It will make working hard easier.  You’ll see better results.  The better results will encourage you do the hard work again.  The more hard work you do, the less you’ll have to work hard to produce results.

I could have put in more hard work to prepare differently for my event.  Preparing to compensate for my exhaustion.  I didn’t compensate.  My hard work became resting so I could fight another day.  I would have rather been better prepared and less exhausted.

Alternatively, I could have done the hard work of looking forward, accepting reality that twins would suck the life out of me, and say, “No.  I can’t do that event.”  That would have required humility and self-awareness … talk about hard work.

Five minutes of hard work can out do 12 hours of working hard.

Are you willing to do the hard work?

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