We are shifting from decades of belief around the concept of ‘hard work’. Don’t get me wrong- obviously consistent action towards a goal increases the likelihood of achieving that goal but that’s not what I am talking about here.
You see, hard work implies sacrifice, lack of pleasure, something we are obligated to do and when we say to someone it will take ‘hard work’ it is hardly inspiring.
As we move forward in times of increasing pace of change and unknowns you may or may not have noticed that ‘hard work’ does not always net the results or the expectations we may have.
You may have also noticed that telling a Generation Y or a Millenial that in order for them to get what they want they will have to commit to hard work – they don’t respond! Why?
Because ultimately what all of us want regardless of generation, time on job, or experience is to be inspired to action!
The shift away from a task focused, labor intensive work place towards a more open, playful and fun at work environment is linked to the inspired action concept. Notice the energetic difference when you focus on a job that needs to get done and you tell yourself, “this is going to be hard work” – does this thought give you energy? Or does it put you into defense or flight or fight?
I personally experienced an increased awareness around the ‘hard work’ energetic drain recently when I was working on a very big project that I was told I HAD to do. In my mind I built it up to be a herculean project and I continued to tell myself it was going to be hard work. What this did is it increased my stress levels incredibly- I found myself resisting even starting the project and I noticed I was negative whenever I went to approach the tasks for the project. In essence I was subconsciously rebelling against the order of ‘hard work’.
After attending a premier program with Dr Epstein ( a globally renowned mind/body expert) I realized through a model he shared that I was creating mental structures based on old beliefs that the only way to accomplish something was through hard work.
As soon as I got that realization I was able to ask myself questions that led me to the awareness that when I consistently operate from the structure of inspired action the work becomes effortless and in fact it isn’t even work anymore it is action towards a purpose and outcome that is inspiring and worth completing.
I immediately applied my ‘aha’ by shifting my thinking and my approach to the project and before working on any aspect of the project I would prepare by putting my mind into its most resourceful state, I listened to inspiring music, I would do daily somatic respiratory exercises (created by Dr. Epstein) and I would get inspired to do the work.
Amazingly the project became a labor of love, became something I was excited to do and to learn more about doing better and when I finished the project it turned out better than I could have hoped.
In this decade and beyond we as leaders need to tap into the mindset and behaviors that come from inspired action- we must shift away from the belief that it is ‘hard work’ to accomplish anything worth accomplishing. If you look at famous examples such as Steve Jobs, Oprah and even dare I say, Joan Rivers all of them feel or felt a compelling inspired action to change the world. Very different than saying, “this is hard work”.