Monday, 19 January 2009

Forget Shortcuts

I've always been cynical about books or experts prescribing guaranteed ‘formulas for success’ in business, because it is rarely that simple (and there is no such thing as a guarantee), but I have realised that success often comes down to some fairly simple principles.

With Barack Obama’s inauguration tomorrow I think we can all learn a lot from his story both in business and life. About how anything is possible if you are focused on a goal, if you are passionate about what you do. That is a powerful inspiration.

But I think there is another lesson here - success is an option for everyone BUT it can’t be achieved overnight, there are rarely any shortcuts.

Sure, lucky breaks, great timing and support are all going to contribute to reaching goals, but if you want results you have to make the right investment in buckets of hard work. That philosophy is at the core of 'Juggle'; I always thought that success was about doing more, not doing less. It’s about what I call 'hard graft'. Whether you believe in Malcolm Gladwell's theory of 10,000 hours to be good at something or Gary Vaynerchuk's belief in working long hours and being a hustler, the result is the same.

To be a success and do loads of stuff you have to put in the hours. That simple.

Jeffrey Kalmikoff had a blog post on this a few days ago; that in business you need to work out whether you are a ‘Hustler’ or a ‘Lifestyler’. Are you out there, putting the hours in, hustling or are you trying to achieve success with as little effort as possible?

It's like what I felt about Obama's Shoes - if you want to get elected President, you have to pound the streets.

That’s been my story. Yes, I had some lucky breaks along the way. I wanted to work in radio, so I volunteered for some work experience and then got some on-air opportunities. At college I wanted to get involved in the Student Union so I sat through countless meetings and did a stack of reading before I stood for office. I wanted to work in TV and paid my dues as a runner, photocopying scripts and making tea. It’s the same with my recent development into writing. If you want to get published as a writer, you have to write lots and you have to persevere. If you want to succeed in running your own business, you have to put the hours in, you have to put in 150% dedication.

And the point about ‘Juggle’ is about being successful not by doing less, but actually doing more, working hard, with your passions guiding all you do.

So forget shortcuts and be prepared for some long hours...

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