Fake Work Ethic

Recently I was talking to a group of college students in an Entrepreneurship class at The University of Washington – Tacoma.  As we explored the idea of getting a job after school I began to talk about work ethic.  So many things tell us to ‘work hard’.  I tell people to ‘work hard’.  We often only apply the ‘work hard’ mantra to work, a job, school, or a business.  Sometimes I hear people say, “A relationship is hard work.”  Sometimes I hear people say, “Getting in Shape is hard work.”  But predominantly, the mantra of ‘hard work’ is usually being applied to working for someone else or as a business owner.

I’ve met people who work 50-60 hours a week regularly and they work hard, at work.  They may be in poor health, marriage on the verge of collapse, and working hard to pay for a lifestyle that’s out of control.  However, the habit of putting in 10-12 hour days is solidly in place.  Are they really working hard or just spending lots of their time and energy in their comfort zone?

Here’s the thing that takes hard work – Behavior Change.  It’s herculean depending on the behavior you are trying to change.  Just ask someone who has quit smoking, drinking, or doing drugs.  Just ask someone who has lost 100 lbs or worked their way out of debt 😉 .  Just ask a couple that rebuilt their marriage after infidelity.

To all my people out there who work really hard to make money, great.  What does the rest of your life look like?  If it’s falling apart, then you’re missing something and you might want to assess the advice you’re dishing out to young people about ‘working hard’.  Apparently you’re only willing to work hard at certain things.  That’s not hard work.  That’s a bias to your comfort zone.  That’s avoiding having hard conversations with loved ones.  That’s avoiding the fact that you’re addicted to sugar or alcohol.  That’s ignoring your out of control spending habits that keep you a slave to the job or business you ‘work hard’ at.  That’s willful ignorance to your sleep apnea or the fact that you can’t walk up a flight of stairs with out getting winded… because you’re ‘working hard’.

4 Core areas to life – Health / Finances / Relationships / Work.  Be a complete player.


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