One of the things I hear parents, coaches, and teachers preach to our kids is to hustle and do your homework. I think it is universally taught that doing your homework and hustling is the best thing to do to get better at any given task. And the best in fact ALWAYS hustle and do their homework.
Now fast forward from first grade, to high school sports and then to the so called “real world”. Tuesday afternoon in a cubicle. Friday afternoon in the car as an OSR (hate that term by the way). Driving truck. Cutting hair. Waiting tables. Are we still hustling and doing our homework. The answer is often a very reluctant, “No. But I mean to. I was going to start. Um, what?”
We all celebrate Charlie Hustle (ok, not the creepy weird Pete Rose that sells his autograph on the Vegas strip for a few bucks) but the mythical one. The person that just out works everyone. You know, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Business leaders need to find people that hustle and do their homework. But beyond that…leaders need to set the example. Are you hustling? Are you doing your homework?
Homework can and should be reading books that relate to your industry, and also business books that are not in your wheel house. Oh, I get it, you don’t have time to read. But your fifth grade son has time to do their homework right? Ok, let’s move on. Go on factory tours; learn your craft. Again, if you think you already know, you are an idiot. Seriously. Another great way is to “secret shop” or any way so you can learn about your competition. Roundtables and factory tours of your product line, all the way up and down the food chain, in your business will help you become an expert as well. And if you are new to your industry, study, study, study. Become an expert not only of your industry but of YOUR COMPANY. Do you know everyone’s role? Do you know what your boss expects of you? Do you know where you are going and why? This is your adult homework.
Homework can also be social and charity endeavors. You will learn a lot about yourself and your surroundings. The old cliche you get back twice what you give is so true. I don’t know anyone that isn’t submersed in these things that are not better people because of it.
Now on to the big obvious secret (oh, see how I did that?). Hustle. Of course we all hustle. Riiiiight. But what do we REALLY do…what are you doing? Are you really sprinting or are you jogging? Are you going a second early in wind sprints and instead of touching the line? Are you going about one foot short of the finish line? Are you crusing? Your coach, um boss, or even more important your customers and those around you, they know. You don’t think they know. They know. Trust me. And deep down you know they know. Do you care enough to change? Or you happy with your fate? That’s up to you. But when someone steals “your promotion”, “your account”, “your next big thing”, and you have 100 reasons why “it” left you, my instincts will tell me that you got out hustled. When that ball was going out-of-bounds did you dive into the stands or did you reach out your arm and let it go out? Were you the first one at practice or just getting there on time? Hustle doesn’t lose you your job. It doesn’t always cost you the game. It doesn’t always cost you your career. But it might. And certainly with hustle you will do better.
I’ve met so many people who have great ideas for great causes. Great things they plan on doing. Great intent. Talk is cheap. They aren’t willing to hustle. So it never happens.
So really it’s up to you. Will you hustle and do your home work? Will you practice what you preach? You just read this whole article. So I believe you will now go do it.
Feel bad that you haven’t been doing all this? A Chinese proverb reminds us of the possibilities: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is today.
Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest
– – Joel Fleischman. Joel is the president and solution provider for Drexel Building Supply. (www.drexelteam.com). You can follow him on twitter: @JoelmFleischman. He has provided solutions for builders and their clients since 1996 and a whole bunch of other stuff that you probably don’t care about.