Being good in what you are doing – being it a day job or own business – is maybe the most important factor for personal and financial success. It’s also considered the hardest part of the puzzle, that’s why most people try to succeed in other areas – marketing, connections, luck, or just faking their professionalism.
Photo by kevindooley at Flickr
That is so, because being good in your job or business is considered hard. But it is not. People believe it’s hard, because most people are not professionals in their job. You are seeing this every day – how much time did it take you to find a really good dentist, how many restaurants offered you food that sucked, how many fitters you had to change before you find yours?
If you agree that most people are not good in what they do, how do you expect them to say that being good is easy? Of course, they would claim that being good is very hard and they are doing their best.
But here lies the real opportunity: if so many people suck at their job or business, then all you need to do in order to be considered good, is to suck less. Sucking less doesn’t sound that hard, does it? And from sucking less to doing the things really good there is no big gap.
Being better than most people in your job or business is not hard – it takes just two components – passion and mind.
What does it mean to have passion at your job or business? It certainly doesn’t mean you should enjoy every minute of work and smile like an idiot all the time. It doesn’t even mean you should wake up every day full of energy and willing to start work. If there are days when you don’t want to go to work, moments when you are angry or bored, or just feel lazy, that’s OK. It doesn’t mean you are not passionate. You are not supposed to burn of energy every day and every minute.
To be passionate about your deals means to believe in the direction that you are going to. To feel that what you are doing has some real value to you and to the world. To be eager to learn new and better ways to do your business. If you are passionate at your work you will certainly have some moments of enjoyment – moments when you look at what you have done and say “good job!” to yourself. They don’t need to be there all the time, not every day or in every project, but you will have them. That’s it to be passionate.
If you feel that you are doing something wrong, if you wake up and go to work with resistance every day, if you count the hours to the end of the work day, or if all you care about is the money you’ll get paid (or will make through your business), then you are not passionate. In this position you can’t be happy and can’t achieve long term success. First, your daily round is pain. If you hate your work, this means you hate at least 50% of the time you are awake. How can this make you happy? Second, if you don’t have any passion at your work, you will never be able to be good. If you are not good, you are unlikely to achieve professional success and make good money long term. Maybe you get paid well now, but do you truly believe this can last forever? Maybe tomorrow, maybe next year a more passionate worker or company will come here to replace you. Working at a job you hate is a wrong choice no matter how well it pays.
In such case you should leave it as soon as possible and start doing something that makes you feel good. You’ll have an immediate profit – your daily round will no longer be pain, but pleasure. Even if you get paid less for it, it’s certainly better to be paid less for having fun that being paid more to suffer. And you are going to gain more long term, because working something that you love gives you much better chance to become good and get paid more in the future.
Alternatively you can try to develop passion at what you are doing. If you think it’s so important to keep running your current business or working at your current job, why don’t you try to make yourself like it? There are passionate people in every business so there is certainly something to like in yours. You can try to find it: read related information, meet passionate mates online, learn how it can be fun.
The first route is better but requires more courage. The second route is safer, but if you can’t develop your passion, you can lose few years not revealing your full potential and not living the life you want.
Most people prefer to follow someone’s advice instead of thinking on their own. I see this in the software business every day. People and companies follow mindless standards, use mindless tools and implement mindless practices because they are accepted as industry standards. When the first web 2.0 startups came few years ago and decided to get things done instead of following the industry standards the big companies made laugh on them. But the web 2.0 startups just blew out the competition – in the same way Google preferred to get things done instead of following industry standards and blew out Yahoo, Altavista and even Microsoft.
If you want to be good, you need to think. You need to question mindless guidelines and standards, you need to challenge what’s believed to be right. I don’t mean you shouldn’t follow anything, but you should question everything. Is it really good or some mindless suit said it is? Is the way your company work the right way or it is working like that because the others are doing it? Once you start questioning you will see that many things are wrong. It doesn’t require a genius to see that, it’s often just common sense. But most people simply don’t dare to question things, that’s why it’s easy to be better than them.
Mind goes together with passion. When you start to question common bias you’ll start finding better and smarter ways to do things. This will help you feel more passionate and having more fun when doing your work. As a result of that you’ll become better than most people in your work or business.
Remember, most people are plain average. Being good doesn’t require tons of hard work (being best does however because there are few, but enough people who want to be better than average) – all it takes is doing things better than the average people and companies. They don’t work with passion and do mindless things, so if you are not like them, you will be better. That’s all*.
* Being good/better than most doesn’t guarantee you financial, professional or personal success. But it’s a large part of it, maybe 50%.