Part 4: Hard Work (Alone) Is Not The Answer

Look I said. I never shared this with you, but I used to be you.

Yes, I am a Vice President of a fun, vibrant Tech Company today.

But don’t let what you see fool you.

Before I got here and even today I suffered so many setbacks and was plagued by self-doubt, fear, anxiety, and frustration.

The difference is today I know exactly how to win in spite of these setbacks and crippling emotions.

I now know it’s all part of the game and journey of my career and life.

But back then?… Man let me tell ya.

It was so painful and confusing. I was giving it my all and still not getting the results I so badly wanted.

I too was passed over for promotions and failed to achieve other career goals.

  • I saw people join the company after me, at my level, only to bypass me.
  • I could not understand why. Or what I was doing wrong.
  • I just kept plugging away working hard, DOING more of same (consciously and unconsciously).
  • The only difference in approach was that each time I came with more intensity and swear to persevere to the end.
  • I was going to brute force my way to success. Whatever it took, I was going to work harder and longer and knock my walls down.

Does this Sound familiar to you?

The hard work/try harder strategy worked for a while. Especially early on in my career. 

***Sidebar: (BTW ‘”Hard work Strategy” that’s a misnomer. It’s not a strategy and you will see why later)

I advanced quickly merely by brute forcing it – more time (read more sacrifice) and stronger effort.

Then the game changed. Drastically.

It happened when I got to the level you are at now,  then the brute force (hard work) “strategy” by itself stopped working. Or I should say became considerably less useful.

It was no longer sufficient and sustainable (by itself) to help me realize the similar past progress by itself. 

And by that time something else had occurred. I had no more sacrifices left in me to make:

  • There was nothing else I could give up to squeeze more hours out of the day.
  • And I was at my limits as far as energy goes.
  • Push any harder, and I risked my health and personal relationships. Both were already less than I desired. That was too high a price to pay.

I felt like the housefly trapped, trying hard to fly through the window glass.

One attempt, after another, each time trying harder and harder. But I saw no change EXCEPT burnout and increasing stress. 

I became clear to me that if I wanted a different fate than the housefly, i.e., dead on the window sill, then something needed to change.

I was missing some other ingredients.

And that’s when I stumbled on to something that changed everything for me…

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