I learned to work hard from my grandmother. Every Saturday we rose bright and early to work. I had my bucket and my sponge and we started in our rec room (we have rec rooms in the north) and worked our way up to the third floor of the home.
The rooms in my grandmother's home looks like they came out of Architectural Digest. She has pure white carpet in the living room and dining room and she had furniture imported from Hungary in the 70's!
My grandmother was a very clean woman and to this day, her furniture is still covered with plastic...
I left my life in Steubenville when I was 12 and carried the 'hard work' badge of honor with me to my new home with my late aunt in Canton, OH. I worked hard in school, I was an elite athlete and worked hard on the track. My hard work was paying off because I had scholarships from Brown to Purdue.
I worked hard in college and of course, when I entered the workforce I brought the hard work badge of honor with me.
Work hard, play harder, right?
I was working, working, working and doing little to enjoy my life.
I'll just work hard through my 20's...
I'll just work hard through my 30's...
Then, just like that, 40 crept up on me.
Now, my life has had highs and lows just like everyone else. Relationships, marriages, 3 children, careers, homes and now, a business.
Before I started my company a few years ago, I was investing in a lot of personal development and began to understand that working hard was not going to create the wealth I desired. My new group of friends saw success as a more important badge of honor than 'hard work.'
I began to understand the importance of leverage and working smarter. Now, I am no longer exhausted at the end of the day. I am tired, but not from working hard. I put in a days work and am excited about thinking of new solutions and ideas to help my clients build thriving law firms and keep my team employed.
Here are a few things that you can do to move beyond the traditional sense of hard work.
1. Build a list and communicate with them - often. Be interesting!
2. Leverage the collective brainpower of your advisers. Ask for help when you need it.
3. Create and distribute content - lots of it! You're a lawyer and if you don't have the right content online, you won't be found. Be the lawyer that 'wrote the book on it'.
4. Use social media - it works! Just because you're not on Facebook doesn't mean that your prospective and current clients aren't. Stop being penny wise and pound foolish.
5. Record videos and use the TV in your conference room to educate your prospective clients.
6. Focus on the most profitable areas of your law firm. If you don't know this then invest more time tracking your results.
My daughter surprised me with a trip to Thailand and I plan on enjoying every moment of it.
I doubt that I'll ever give up my hard work badge of honor but I do recognize that every season in my life doesn't require a 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. schedule.
How long will you continue to work 60 hours weeks and wear your hard work badge of honor?