Being a Star - Either Put In More Hours Than Others, or Start Eliminating Stuff (But Stop Whining)...
Being a star - everybody wants to be one, but few want to (or perhaps can) do what it takes to be one. I'm reminded of the fact that most stars become stars because they simply outwork all the people who won't do what it takes to become world class. Ryan Estis reminded me of that this week:
"Bono is a Rockstar. I was fortunate enough to see the U2 360 Concert recently. And it was Passion on Purpose on display. And all of that Passion and Preparation translated into a monster Performance. Its a real pleasure watching artists, who take so much pride in their craft, perform at the top of their game. In those moments of witnessing near flawless execution, that seems so natural, it can also minimize the countless hours of real hard effort that comes first. Bono told a great story on a chilly night in Norman, Oklahoma a couple weeks ago about having played Norman 26 years prior about a mile down the road. In a small bar, to a small crowd, as relative unknowns. He simply said “it took 26 years for us to move a mile down the road”…….to a sold out stadium of 60,000 mesmerized fans. What a journey. What a great gig. But it sure didn’t start out that way. In fact, in took 26 years of Passion on Purpose.
I am reading the book Outliers. Where Malcom Gladwell (http://www.gladwell.com/) puts forth the notion that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve expertise or mastery. Real hard effort. Real big sacrifice. And real tough to achieve Rockstar Status if you don’t really love what you do. Being a Rockstar in your own chosen vocation isn’t really all that different. You typically get out what you put in. The edge usually goes to those willing to give a little more than most. A mentor and friend continually reminds me to think about doing the 1% that the 99% isn’t or simply isn’t willing to do. What he likes to call “the hard yards”. And I woke up this morning taking my own self assessment: Have I put in my 10,000 hours? Was I willing to earn the hard yards?"
So, if you want to be a star, you have to put in the time, right? What about work/life balance?
Work/life balance is a choice. You won't be able to be your version of Bono with work/life balance as your goal. More and more, I run into super sharp people who are amazed at the entitlement culture of talented folks who say they want to be stars, but won't put in the time to outwork others and are outraged when told that's what it takes. It's an interesting thing. The folks who are talented say they want to be a star and don't think they should have to sacrifice anything to get there. The leaders who mentor them just shake their heads as they witness the disconnect (most of the headshakers outworked others and combined it with their natural talents and strengths to get where they are).
Are there other options? Just one...
If you don't want to outwork others on the way to being a star, you need to start eliminating things that you don't think matter, the things you can get away with not doing, not being involved with at work. Create the time within whatever work ethic you have, then use the hours you gained from elimination to pursue a niche that's going to make you a star to your organization or the world at large. I'm reading the "4 Hour Workweek", and I've described it as "Getting Things Done", but much, much meaner. Instead of getting organized and working a system ala GTD, the 4 Hour Workweek is going to teach you not to index those activities, but instead to simply stop doing them. Just stop.
You want to be a star. Either start outworking people, or tell them their priorities aren't yours. Either be the hardest working person in <show>business, or the nastiest.
Or stop whining. You've got three choices actually.