Anyone who knows me knows I’m not quite as “full throttle” at The Savy Agency as I used to be – having two busy toddlers to chase after will do that to you. Thank heavens it does, and thank heavens we’ve grown and now have excellent creative staff onboard to do some of the full throttle for me. But prior to this brief hiatus, I was often asked about my work ethic – you know, the one that keeps you in the office long after dark and up before the birds. Pushing to get the job done, grow the business and make the clients happy that make the business possible. My response was usually something like this.
Be willing to do something different.
The quicker you do what you need to, the sooner you can get on with it and do what you enjoy doing. Some call this “eating that frog” or doing the hardest and most important task of the day first, before anything else.
If you were to sample successful business owners, coaches or enigmatic individuals that you consider successful, and ask them “How do you build a successful business?”, you’d generally find they have the results they have because they’re also willing to do what others aren’t to live a life that others don’t. I recently read of a self study by Michael Ellsberg looking at how the best in business do what they do. From Ellsberg’s book, The Education of Millionaires, you find that successful people leapfrog their peers without any formal credentials.
Why? Because they do something different.
“In the words of Alfonso Bedoya in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”
I can tell you from my formal undergraduate and graduate studies in business, anything I “got” from the business world, I got by pushing open doors, asking questions that others weren’t, and bending the rules.
Be willing to do what others aren’t.
Too many of us are comfortable living mediocre just because we’re not willing to sacrifice a little to gain a lot. I’ve been hard at it since 14, when my friends were busy with freshman cheerleading and I was entering the corporate world as a young intern eager to get my sneaker in the door at a creative firm whose products I loved. I thankfully got most of my “hard at it” from my father, who while growing up, I watched push his business forward with unrelenting drive and focus that provided results.
When I was in college, I wore a suit during the day and took 20 credits at odd hours to get ahead, often studying until morning, just to get up and repeat the process again. I was able to travel and enjoy life, but in those midnight hours, I was willing to do what most of my peers were not.
What about you?
- Are you OK working hard and missing sleep or something fun if you need to?
- Are you OK pushing the limits and thinking creatively and outside the box?
- Are you OK making goals and sacrifices where you need to get ahead?
What are you OK with doing? If you’re stuck but OK with that, that’s OK, but just know it’s not the fault of the industry you’re in – although yes many have dropped off the face of the earth and require making a change – or where you live, the choices you didn’t have growing up or how much things themselves have changed.
Personally, I’m OK with getting up super early when the phones are off, the kiddos are asleep and before our clients wake and expect stellar service from me. I’m OK with shopping on Craigslist to save pennies here and there in exchange for getting more of what I want.
To help get to what you’re OK with, try mapping out a vision for your business, or your passion-turned-business, and figure out what it’s going to take to get there.
- Begin taking steps towards your vision every day.
- Ask yourself what you want and why – this is the “get you out of bed while others are sleeping” part. Decide that you will go after it and see it already part of your reality.
What are you OK sacrificing to achieve your goals and kick ass at your business?
Your sacrifice pays off.
Cheers! Christina, Creative Director at The Savy Agency