Renowned coaches are often asked what the difference is between the best athletes and everyone else. In other words, “What do really successful people do that most people don’t?” Of course, there are the typical responses of genetics, luck, and talent.
But there’s an added element most don’t think of…It is the will to be relentless and resilient in the Grind. It’s the ability to handle the boredom of training every day and doing the same lifts, drills and film review over and over again that separates the professionals from the amateurs.
Pursuit of Process
Think about it this way – it’s not that the best athletes have some insane, boundless passion or willpower others don’t; it can even be the exact opposite. They can feel the same boredom and lack of motivation everyone else experiences and aren’t immune to the sometimes tedious heft of the daily grind.
What sets them apart is their commitment to the process. They fall in love with the daily practice, with the repetition, and with the plan in front of them.
It’s that time of year when a multitude of awards and trophies are handed out….really, they are earned…rewarded and fought hard for….. Each of these championships or personal honors were pursued over long and hard-fought seasons and careers by professionals who sometimes had to move from dead last to reach that teary-eyed moment they could call themselves champs.
When one thinks of being a pro, our mind often turns to athletes who have reached the pinnacle of performance. By that definition, a professional is anyone who makes a living in a field where many are amateurs, and their work is characterized by reaching seemingly unattainable levels of performance while holding to the highest possible technical and ethical standards in that field.
In the world of business, one generally thinks of a professional as someone who has received special training then delivers outstanding results, having honed particular talents into an enviable set of valuable skills. No matter whether you think of athletes that kiss championship cups, stars that win Emmy’s or Oscars or Grammy’s, or business pros innovating their way to INC cover stardom, you must acknowledge that becoming a true professional requires pride in making daily improvements and rigor around process.
Therefore, if you want to be a starting quarterback, you have to be in love with running drills and studying playbooks. If you want to be a New York Times bestseller, you have to be in love with the process of writing. If you want to get in better shape, you have to love the practice of eating in a healthier manner and exercising consistently.
You have to love the grind if you ever hope to turn it into the achievement of a goal.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Though some of the following may not be true all of the time, when you love the process of what you do, the following will be evident in your life and work much of the time:
- You don’t talk about other individuals; you talk about the great things other individuals are doing.
- You help without thinking, or without being asked.
- You don’t struggle to stay disciplined; you struggle to prioritize.
- You’re excited about the job you are doing, but you’re more excited about the people you’re doing it with….
- You leave work with items on your to-do list that you are eager to tackle tomorrow. They are undone today because you focused more on people then you did on tasks.
- You think, “I hope I get to…” instead of, “I hope I don’t have to…”
- You don’t focus on retirement, because retirement sounds boring – and a lot less fulfilling.
Now, there is a chance our society may have overdone the need for the above to be true all of the time. We have been told that if you do what you love, the money and success will follow. We have been told that if you are not changing the world in bold ways, it is because you are too afraid to find your passion and follow it.
No one can really be happy or considered a success if they do not take pride in what they do, if they do not consistently demonstrate excellence, and if they do not routinely work to elevate their performance to unprecedented levels of goal achievement through process orientation. Every departure from principle, process, integrity, excellence, and peak performance causes a loss of respect and contaminates character while undermining results.
Each time we adhere to the laws of professionalism and do the next right thing, we hear an inner voice of approval, we strengthen our soul and fortify our personal resolve, and we build on a reputation with ourselves and others that carries significant cache.
Have you ever noticed how incredible you feel after having delivered a superior piece of work; how much more you think of yourself; how it emboldens your character? What a thrill you feel when contemplating days in which you know you have done your very best. That is well focused pride. It builds happiness.
The Pursuit of Value
Author Cal Newport has emerged as one of the more vocal critics of the only-do-what-you-love movement and says it is time to end the professional guilt trip. In his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Newport argues that following one’s passions can be a dead end. He maintains that it’s better to identify which skills you have that could be unique and valuable in the workplace, and then hone those skills until you have career capital you can spend any way you choose.
Developing career capital requires a carefully balanced mix of deliberate action and patience. If you are in a self-directed professional environment and are responsible for carving your own path, take responsibility for the direction in which you are headed – and be clear about what you need from others to get there…. Do not wait for someone to come along who can help; be proactive in seeking out those who can provide mentorship and guidance along the way.
If you are responsible for developing career capital in others, incorporate this exercise in ongoing meaningful dialogues and annual reviews. Always be aware of the following questions: “What am I doing to help others identify their competitive advantages, and how am I providing opportunities for those strengths to turn into greater career capital?”
Most roles have tasks one must engage in repeatedly; knowing the natural progression of a profession is essential. How many partners at a law firm still do all their own research? Does a surgeon want to spend more time in surgery, or in pre-op or post-op care? In these examples, practitioners outsource the less challenging work to junior staff that is not only capable of performing the work at a lower cost but also challenged by the work itself. What is the natural progression of your profession, and have you done a successful job of institutionalizing outsourcing or appropriate delegating?
Within a physician’s office, the nurse practitioner facilitates exams, the nurse checks blood pressure, and the scheduling department makes appointments. Each of those tasks is important but will neither provide the doctor with the challenge they need nor the financial rewards necessary to justify their time. In the case of lawyers, they have paralegals, legal secretaries, and associate lawyers they entrust. The lesson we can learn from both is that outsourcing certain tasks to other team members is not only more financially rewarding but also allows for greater challenges. Be attentive to the times the grind is necessary in the achievement of a goal, and be aware of when the grind must be alleviated or delegated in order to avoid turnover or burnout.
At Cerca Talent+, we love the disciplined, daily practice of finding top talent with whom you can develop the kind of career capital that will lead your company to Peak Performance. We are professionals working with professionals to fine tune talent branding so the companies we serve can proactively adapt and lead change.
If you are a company looking to expand your team with professionals who are focused on delivering work which they love, and you can be proud of, ever day, then we would be privileged to help you in the process. Having created many great teams in the fields where we focus, we know the ins and outs of the companies, the business and the customers leading the way.
To learn more about how we can assist your organization in finding contributors with true grit who embrace the grind, please reach out to Scott Rivers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Rivers is the Managing Director of Cerca Talent+, a talent agency for the Oncology, Genetics and Life Science Industries. Scott’s recruiting experience extends into the areas of Diagnostics, Equipment and Device, Genomics and BioInformatics. His team manages recruitment for businesses focused on these areas in all roles.
As a leader who has worked at every level of commercial, medical sales and global marketing, Scott is an intense professional who partners with organizations to fine tune talent branding. If you are a leader looking to expand your team with professionals who are focused on delivering work in which they take pride, and you can be proud of, every day, then Scott would be privileged to help you in the process. Having been a professional in the fields where you focus, Scott knows the ins and outs of the companies, the business and the customers you are working to come alongside.
Cerca Talent+ is a full-service Executive Search Firm with a strategic focus in the areas of Clinical Diagnostics, Molecular Diagnostics and Oncology, Genomic and Genetic Medicine. Our clients choose Cerca because of our deep understanding of the industries we serve. They continue to work with us based on our extensive market knowledge, vast connections and quality of results.
We Provide Top Talent to create Peak Performance. That’s a good match for any company. Partner with the group that can talk shop and gain rapport with the pros who will lead your business into the future. Email Scott Rivers today at email@example.com, or call direct at 201-594-2101, and we will begin the process of finding you Top Talent guaranteed to help you set records.