“Never wait for big ideas, work for it.” When I saw this tee on sale at Zara, it was a done deal. If you follow me on instagram, you already know how I feel about work ethic. You may be smarter than me, you may be more talented than me, you may be more [insert positive adjective of choice] than me, but it doesn’t matter because I will always outwork you. I don’t toot my own horn often – in fact, I’m much more self-deprecating than you’d think – but one thing’s for damn sure, I have some motherf*cking grit. It doesn’t matter if I fall on my ass 200 times – I’ll always get back up and try again.
Most of you already know how crazy my schedule is. I teach piano, I play concerts, I’m con-currently getting a doctoral degree in piano performance and a second master’s in musicology, I freelance as a food photographer and social media consultant, I manage two full-time blogs, AND more. I don’t sleep much, but my passion keeps me going. It’s definitely not easy, but I genuinely love what I do so the effort’s worth it to me 200%. I get a lot of DMs with questions regarding work ethic (ie. how to develop grit, how to stay inspired, etc.) so I thought I’d write a post on it for you guys. So, let’s get to it!
Take good care of yourself.
I can function on 4 hours of sleep each night, but that doesn’t mean YOU should. There’s no formula! If you need 7 hours of sleep, then you should get 7 hours of sleep. What matters most is how you use your time when you’re awake, and how focused you are. I’m stating the obvious, but a fresh mind accomplishes 100x more than a lethargic one.
I tried to swing 2 hours of sleep per night, but that was a no-go. Could I do it? Technically yes, but I wasn’t working as quickly. My senses were dulled, and I kept making careless mistakes because I was so tired. So, get enough sleep. Eat healthfully. Workout so your body can keep up with your big dreams and even bigger workload.
Be willing to make sacrifices.
Success comes at a price. Dreaming is great, but you got to turn that dreaming into doing or else it doesn’t mean jack. So many people want – they want this or they want that, but they don’t WANT to put in the work that’s needed to achieve said desires. My dad once told me, “it’s not about what you want, it’s about what you’re willing to sacrifice.” So, are you willing to spend Friday nights slaving away at home while your friends are out partying it up? Are you willing to wake up early and put in the work that’s needed to develop your skills, business, body or whatever it is while everyone’s fast asleep in their warm, comfy beds? Are you willing to put in the effort day in and day out for years and often decades to build your dreams?
I hope you answered yes because you need that willpower to keep you going because not everything’s going to be sunshine and rainbows. Yes, sometimes you’ll wake up feeling all sorts of inspired, and your workday will be as productive as can be, but we’re human beings. We have off days. We have shitty days. We have days when all we want to do is grab a pint of ice cream and veg out on the couch, but you gotta suck it up and power through because that’s what it takes to be exceptional. Now, I know that’s hardcore, but that’s just how I am. If you need to rest because you want to reset, that’s totally fine and you should get the R&R you need, but if you find yourself needing those more often than not, it’s probably not burnout but lack of discipline. You’ll know which it is deep down!
Keep your eye on the prize.
When I feel like slacking, I think about WHY I’m working so hard to begin with. It helps me muster the motivation I need to move forward and push through when I feel like bumming around. I journal everyday to keep track of my progress, and I have vision boards (one in my office and one on pinterest) to keep me inspired on the regular. That’s just me though! Find what it is that keeps you on track and fall back on it when you’re down in the dumps – whether it’s shouting aspirations in the morning or getting together with likeminded individuals to discuss ideas, you just need to do you.
Developing a good work ethic takes time and practice so don’t go from 0 to 100 overnight because you’d be setting yourself up for failure. Go slow and make small changes – maybe you start by waking up 10 minutes earlier each day or incorporating a 20 minute work out into your morning routine. You don’t need to jump right into 2o hour work days – remember, it’s about the long game so go slow and steady.
Alright guys, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post! Please let me know what you thought by leaving a comment below. And a huge thanks to Sung Shin for the amazing photography as per usual! For more casual outfit inspiration, click here. To browse work related content, make sure to check out my career tab. Until next time, friends!