Effort Cultivates Success

March 16, 2022 By The Siren Of Support

Two months ago, I got bored of the treadmill. I am not a runner, my legs are fairly short and honestly I just don’t like it. But, with it being winter in Wisconsin, my options for exercise were limited. So I took the plunge and ordered what I can only describe as the Hybrid from Hell. It is a cross between an elliptical and a stair stepper. It came with these fancy instructor led workouts. “I’m not fancy, I don’t need that, I’ll just watch a show or read a book”, I tell myself. I made it a measly fourteen minutes. It was brutal, and it was terrible, and I did it again the next day with the help of my new pre-recorded friend Jim. 

It wasn’t that Jim is 8 years my senior that pushed me to the end of the thirty-four minute workout. It wasn’t that Jim really thought I could do it, he was totally rooting me on. It wasn’t even because I refuse to let this piece of equipment turn into a clothes rack. It was because of what Jim said. Jim said, “You get out what you put in.” I gave it my all, I could barely walk down the stairs when it was over and I was a sweaty mess. I did it again the next day, and the day after that. While I still refer to the machine as the Hybrid from Hell, it’s easier now. I can push myself harder and go longer. I put in the commitment and time. In return, I am stronger, less achy and have more confidence. I reaped the benefits of my efforts. I got out what I put in. 

The amount of reward you get out of a situation depends on how much effort you put in doing the task. Think back to a time when you had a major test approaching. Did you study hard for days leading up to it? Or cram for an hour the night before? Chances are that if you put in the time to study the material you did better on the exam. 

It’s been a long time since I have had to study for a test but I do go to work everyday. Everyone has those days when the motivation to go above and beyond just isn’t there. You are just trying to get through. But the days that I sit down early with my to-do list out and prepped, and the intent to get sh*t done are the days that I am most productive. I pour myself into projects, checking off task after task. I answer questions from co-workers at the speed of light. I solve even the most difficult problems as if they were nothing more than a first grade math equation. I put in 100% of me and my output is mind-blowing. 

The people on our teams that simply tread water daily and barely meet the bare minimum are not go getters. They put in meager effort and in return the fruits of their labor are lacking. There is no satisfaction or accomplishment. There is no promotion or a “way to go champ”. They do not “Go All In.” 

The technician that just barely beats book time. The builder that cuts corners but gets lucky. The customer service rep that plays on their phone in between calls instead of getting other work done or taking the opportunity to learn something.  We see you. We know that it is only a matter of time before you quit or we ask you to leave. 

What can we do when we identify a teammate that is just skating by?

  1. Call it as you see it: As a leader, or a peer, if you see someone disengaged, confront the issue. Do not let them sit silently and continue to let them be only part of the team. Ask for more.  
  2. Give them a reason: Sometimes the people that seem to be distant just need a reason to shine. Ask for input. Question why they aren’t giving it their all.  Be there and let them know that you want them to want it. 
  3. Lead by example: You can not set the bar if your behavior exhibits the opposite of what you want others to do. Your work may be different and less measurable but your impact can be felt in your actions. Be available, be consistent and be reliable as a resource and a partner. 
  4. Let them sink: You have reached out multiple times. You have provided the tools to succeed. You have given them the chance to be the hero and yet they continue to bury themselves in disinterest and dissociation. It is not your job to save everyone. But sometimes it is your job to say goodbye. When there is nothing worth saving, let it go. 

Always reach for the stars. Put in 10x’s more than hope to get out. Your happiness is not based on what you get, but rather what you are willing to give. Sometimes there is an element of luck yet most often what you give is what is what you get. 

On that note, I have a date with Jim.