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  • Writer's pictureFrederick L Shelton

The Motivational Speakers are Wrong. Hard Work Doesn't Make You Successful

The Motivational Speakers are Wrong. Hard Work Doesn't make You Successful.

Working hard isn't the way to become successful. Sometimes I put in a lot of hours but it never feels like hard work because I love what I do. Lots of people work much harder than I do. Many people work two or even three jobs. I've met them and they're never going to make seven figures a year or rise to the top of the C-Suite. Working three shifts as a waiter just isn't going to get you the opportunities you need to become successful. You need to figure out how to level up. And then level up again. Working two shifts as a waiter? Switch one to a job in sales. Working in a sales job where the top produce makes $100K a year? Find a profession where the top producers make $1M. In any case, hard work alone, isn't the key to success.

Want to be successful?



Think. Network

Get a Little Luck.

Studying - The Difference Between Blue Collar & White Collar

"Everything you need to learn is on YouTube". Elon Musk

Part of my work regimen is that I study every day. As a consultant and recruiter for the legal profession, I start every day reading legal journals and blogs. I study my profession, I study the clients I serve, and I study industry and business trends. I attend the College of Podcasts and the University of YouTube every week! My Audible library always has a least one book checked out that I'm listening to (currently "The Biggest Bluff" by Milla Konnikova).

If you want to talk about cybersecurity, blockchain and fintech, permanent office hoteling trends or the M&A market? I may not be an expert but I can hold my own.

High end professionals (at least the good ones) tend to study a lot. They also study the things that are pertinent.

Doctors study the latest procedures, successful realtors know more about the market than their competitors, and lawyers keep up on changes in the law. If you work hard, you're smart and you study, you can become a successful professional.

Don't attend motivational seminars that lead to... more motivational seminars. FS

One of the most common mistakes I see people make is getting lost in self-help and motivational seminars. A realtor I knew attended a motivational seminar with me and was PUMPED UP! He changed his diet, started getting up at 6am and committed to becoming the best in his profession. Six months later, he had attended three more seminars and read four new books. Good deal! BUT... He still hadn't studied his profession, hadn't really studied the market, trends, pricing etc. any more than before the seminars. Don't be that guy.

Don't get me wrong. I love motivational seminars and start every morning with a YouTube speech from #Motiversity or #TheArtOfImprovement. So yes, go to that motivational seminar. Then go become excellent at what you do. Then when you have improved so much that it's time to level up - go to another seminar. Then go study your profession.

Rinse and repeat.

Networking - It Really Is Who You Know

Can you call the CEO's of a dozen companies, each of whom is in a position to pay you millions of dollars (or more!) every year, and know that they'll take your call? If the answer is "Yes", you're in a different place than most people. If the answer is "No", it's time to work on your networking skills. Who is the most important person you know or have ever met? Who have you met, who could most help your career or business? Did you get their contact info? Are you keeping in touch with them on a regular basis?

At one of the (thousands) of seminars, webinars etc. I went to, a speaker said these very true words:

Poor People Should Take Rich People to Lunch - and They Should Insist on Paying for the Meal.

I decided long ago that I was going to spend as much time with successful people as I could. I wasn't going to pretend I was something I was not. I would be honest and always, inquisitive. With the exceptions of wealthy inheritors, married-rich and others who didn't actually earn their money, successful people were overwhelmingly nice and usually, enthused to help me become successful too. I just needed to ask! And of course, to keep in touch. Go to events. Meet important people who can help you with your success. Stay in touch with them. Build a high-value network.

The BIG Differentiator: Thinking aka Innovating

Thinking is the biggest difference between what entrepreneurs do and what everyone else does.

I know recruiters who are doing everything the exact same way they were twenty years ago. I am rarely doing everything the same was I was six months ago!

Few people spend time to just sit around and think "What could we be doing better than we are now?" "What aren't we doing, that we should be doing?" "What could we be doing that would separate us from competitors?"

"What tech should we look at or create?" "What should we look like in one year? Five years?" I budget time for thinking and innovating. LOTS of time. I dictate into my phone every week and then send my ideas to myself via email. To give you an idea of how much I think and dictate ideas, there are over 1,000 such emails in my "IDEAS" folder.

I change the way we do things all the time because I am constantly innovating. That's absolutely necessary in the ever-changing business environment we live in nowadays. If you're not planning your next big change, you've already fallen behind.

If you don't dedicate time to thinking and innovating, five years from now, you won't have five more years of experience. You'll have the same year of experience, five times.

Yes, You've Been Lucky. Admit it.

Regardless of what the egoists say, no one gets big success without at least a little luck. I may have started out as a homeless teen but I've been blessed with a much higher than average intellect. I didn't "earn" that intellect, it was a gift. Being born in America was lucky! Chance meetings are lucky! Something happened along the way that opened a door for you. Admitting that you've had a bit of luck does not take away from your accomplishments or success in any way, because most people get lucky breaks and never seize the opportunities that come their way. It does however, display humility. It makes you a better person. And the world has enough egotistical and insecure executives who can't admit that no, they're not actually Superman and yes, they had a little luck along the way.

Best of Luck!

Frederick Shelton


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