Doing the Work is Sexy

Written on:January 9, 2012
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Dorothy Parker said, “I hate writing. I like having written.” I know many people who are like that about their business, their trade. I know many more people who love to fantasize about what life will be like when they make it, but they like to skip over the part with the hard work, or they give it a sentence or two.

Here’s a hint: the work part is what brings the money part.

How to Get Very Lucky In Life

A few days ago, I came a lot closer to being able to cross something huge off my bucket list. I can’t talk about it just yet, but essentially, I was able to shoot video and talk with a legend of mine. That didn’t happen because someone was looking around to find the right kind of person to do this interview. I asked for it. And I asked for it after having done that person a decent job turning around some work in short order, on top of the work I’d already handed in.

In essence, I was able to check something off of my bucket list because I worked hard enough to earn the shot at doing it.

I’m lucky like that all the time. I spent 12 years (and counting) learning how to create compelling information and nurture relationships with the people who interact with that information. After twelve hard years (many of them without making a cent or receiving much recognition), I get lucky. Luck just comes pouring in all around me. I just sit back and let it all just happen.

Yeah, right.

Luck, Like Love, is a Verb

Both luck and love are verbs that run on work. In 2012, one of my three words is “practice.” I’ve said it repeatedly like this: “the practice is the reward.” When I practice, and when I do the work, I attain luck. Your relationships work like that, don’t they? Your business relationships require nurturing. Your personal relationships require nurturing. Everything you do to add value requires work. Playing a musical instrument, singing, painting, sinking the three point shot in basketball, dealing without flipping over the cards ( Hi, Dad!), are all skills that come from a lot of work.

Make the Work Sexy

I’m on day 9 of 12 in 12 and it’s hard to stick with something every single day in a row. But by making this commitment, I’m already seeing the fertile soil where the seeds of my effort will eventually yield results. When I tackle this work every day, I start with a smile. I force a HUGE smile onto my face. WHY? Because it gets me closer to feeling like the work is sexy. When I write the 2000 words I have due every day on my book, I celebrate each finish with a private cheer and I make sure that I celebrate that work. Why? Because the practice is the reward.

Tell No One

Read this post by Derek Sivers. He’s pointing out something important that I first learned from Jacqueline: telling someone about your goals and talking about your goals out loud can have the opposite effect that you’re intending. It can signal the body that you’ve already accomplished the goal, and then a bunch of interesting reactions happen that keep you from actually doing the work you just got done telling everyone you were planning to do. I had that conversation last night with Rob Hatch as well. Evidently, talking about work is far less sexy.

But Chris: YOU Tell People Your Goals

I do, because I’m trying to model what goals can do for you. But believe me, that does make it harder. I’m writing this on day 9 of my #12in12. I don’t really want to jump down and do an hour of yoga. It’s not the work that’s hard. It’s that “hour.” But when I go back to the 25 minute program, that’s not all that useful to me. So, I’ve made it harder on myself.

But secretly, and don’t tell anyone this, I like it even more because it means that I have to work even harder to achieve these goals, because if I’ve done all the bragging, and all those chemicals supposedly tell me I’m done, then I have to work with even more effort, and something about the challenge of that is fun to me.

Being The Boss Is Sexy

I’m the boss of my own company now, and some people think that’s sexy. Of course, those of you who own your own company know exactly how nonsexy it can be (often), but let’s let the mystique linger a bit, shall we? Besides, I have a hunch.

I was an owner long before I was the boss. I owned my desk at my telephone company job, and that got me better opportunities, because I owned everything I could and make it my responsibility to do even more than the role required on paper. When I moved to my wireless telecom roles, I owned every one of them. I worked harder on projects that weren’t my assigned work while completing the job they paid me for as well. So I was an owner before I became the boss.

And now, as a boss? I never call Rob my employee. I call him my partner. He technically works for me, but Rob works with me. When I ran New Marketing Labs, we called our clients partners, too. Because business is about belonging.

So if you’re not the boss yet, become an owner. Either way, it gets you closer to doing the sexy work.

There Is Work in All Things

Watch a gorgeous red-tailed hawk find a heat pocket and glide on it a while and you’ll see all the grace and beauty of flight. But that hawk flaps more often than he glides, and his entire life is boiled down to trying to hunt for food in a dwindling habitat (which is why we can observe more and more red-tailed hawks). A duck sliding like glass across a pond is paddling furiously under the water to stay in motion.

Do the work. Make it sexy. The practice is the reward.

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