Katie Ledecky took home the gold at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday night after coming from behind to win the 4x200 meters freestyle relay. But rather than go home and take a well-deserved night off, Ledecky was back in the pool, still practicing at 1:15 a.m. Thursday morning.
When it comes to swimming, Ledecky is an absolute beast ― with a significant claim to being the best in the world. But according to her coach Bruce Gemmell, Ledecky doesn’t have the benefit of a massive wingspan or spectacular upper arm strength. The difference between Ledecky and the rest of the pack, he told The Washington Post, is that she shows up and does. the. work. Every single day.
But that’s good news, because guess what? Most of us weren’t blessed with innate ability. If we want to win big, we quit moaning and groaning, put our heads down and get to work. Here are five signs you, like Katie Ledecky, are a do-the-dang-worker:
1. You don’t complain.
Between work stress, student loans and the looming specter of a Donald Trump presidency, you probably have plenty of things you could complain about. But you don’t. You know that grumbling gets you nowhere, and can actually lead to heightened anxiety and isolation. Instead of venting into the void, you turn your complaints into action by working through your problems.
2. You hold yourself accountable.
Whether you’re sticking to a strict athletic training schedule or rushing to meet deadlines at work, you never make excuses. You know that in the long run, skipping a workout or falling behind at work hurts you more than it hurts anyone else. Instead of preparing excuses, you find time to achieve your goals. Waking up an hour early is so much easier when it means you’ll finish what you started.
3. You put the time in.
Success isn’t effortless. You have to show up every day and do the work, and that requires time. Now, we aren’t advocating staying late at the office every night, as that can lead to serious health complications. But when you invest your time wisely, you see returns on that investment. Sitting around and hoping for the best doesn’t have nearly as high a return.
4. You make your own luck.
When you do the dang work, you don’t sit around waiting for luck to smile upon you. You know that truly successful people make their own luck. Ascribing your success to luck does a huge disservice to the hours of hard work and energy you’ve put in. It also creates an illusion that your success can’t be replicated, which can discourage those who would have followed in your footsteps.
5. You know that in order to win big, you sometimes have to lose big.
The truth of the matter is: Life isn’t fair. You can work your tail off and still fail. As Gemmell told The Washington Post, “She fails in practice more than anybody in her [training] group...but you know what? She’ll come back the next day and try it again. And on the third day, she’ll nail it.” The important thing is to fail forward. People who work hard embrace failure and learn from their mistakes. In doing so, they set themselves up for success.
If this is how you get the job done, consider yourself in good company.