Successful People Do What They Must, Not What They Want

Today is tax day in the USA.  I hope you got your taxes in on time.   Taxes are one of my least favorite things to do.  In this post, I want to discuss, least favorite things to do, as well as hard work and effort.

Outstanding performance is one of the key competencies to life and career success that make up my Career Success GPS System.  Outstanding performers are lifelong learners.  They manage their time and life well. They are organized for success. They live a healthy lifestyle.

In this post, I’d like to discuss the importance of hard work and effort in becoming an outstanding performer.  When I was a kid, I used to listen to Earl Nightingale on the radio.  I loved his stories and his deep resonant voice.  The other day, I came across one of his quotes.    “Successful people form the habit of doing what failures don’t like to do. They like the results they get by doing what they don’t necessarily enjoy.”

I know that this sounds like the Protestant work ethic in overdrive – doing what you don’t enjoy.  However, I think this is great common sense advice. 

Here’s an example.  I’ve run a career success coach business over 20 years.  Early on, I learned the importance of managing receivables.  I don’t like to generate invoices and follow up on them, but I do it because it’s necessary.  If I don’t generate and mail the invoices, I don’t get paid.  And, while I love what I do, I still need to get paid for doing it.

I have developed a system for helping me manage my receivables.  I send invoices twice a month – on the 15th and the last day of the month.  I keep a tickler file to remind me when to follow up – at 30, 45 and 60 days.  In this way, I am able to manage my cash flow.  I have forced myself to get into the habit of doing something I don’t enjoy — managing receivables; and I like the results – money in my checking account.

What parts of your job do you not like?  What do you do to make sure you excel at them?

The common sense point here is simple.  Outstanding performance is an important career success competency.  Outstanding performers do all parts of their job well – not just those parts they enjoy doing.  As a career success coach, I urge you do all parts of your job well.  This takes discipline and effort.  However, this discipline and effort will pay off in the long run.  You will become known as an outstanding performer – one who gets things done.  And outstanding performance is one of the five keys to a successful life and career.

Those are my thoughts on doing what is necessary, not just what you like to do.  What are yours?  I’m interested in your perspective on these thoughts.  Please take a minute to leave a comment.  I welcome and appreciate your comments.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. Bud, I agree.

    Many times high performers feel “entitled” to doing – or NOT doing – certain tasks. They balk and complain… the perception this leaves is a very negative, in spite of their skills.

    Reminds me of when I hear that certain athletes do not go to practice or work hard in training.

    In my mind, all of us are replaceable, none of us are above hard work and exceptional performance requires more than skills, it requires the leadership to get it done.

  2. Right on Ramiro:
    We all need to do our part — work hard and not complain.
    You’re right — all of us are replaceable.
    Thanks for this insightful comment.

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