This I believe, you’ve got to do the work
My brother and I were tight up against the elliptical stage where Bono would rise up out of the floor and thousands of people in the room would push us even further forward, just to be closer to the rock star. As my brother admired our proximity to the stage, he provided a litany of events that took place and resulted in our prime position. The purchase of the general admission tickets, meeting precisely two hours before we could get in,waiting outside in the soaking rain, finally standing for what seemed like hours before the show started. But here we were, where everyone else in the theatre wanted to be. Why? Because we did the work my, brother said. You’ve got to do the work to get the goods.
I digested that thought for several days, coming to the realization that “to do the work” applies to all that makes us successful. Luck is fleeting at best, hardly reliable and while doing the work is no guarantee that you would get where you wanted to go, not doing the work fairly assured that you would not.
I turned this adage over in my mind, framing the lessons for my own four children.
I see in my children recognition of the value of doing the work, as well as its benefits. I explain to them that even those with amazing natural gifts of intellect, creativity and athletic prowess must still do the work to maximize their talents.
Growing up in my childhood home there was frequent discussion about which of the five of us was smartest and, well, who was not. I always managed to land at the bottom of that pecking order. Shrugging it off at the time, the evaluations served to make me determined to prove that I could be accomplished at something. Denied college, I put myself through a two year nursing program, becoming a registered nurse at the age of nineteen. I worked nights on the wards of a New York City Hospital, paid rent on my own apartment and took acting classes by day.
My career has taken many turns over the last thirty years, I have worked constantly, presently I own and run a lucrative medical-legal consulting business. I am raising four amazing children and have a wonderful marriage. Lucky, yes, I am healthy and whole. Did I learn to do the work? Yes, always.
Among the many lessons I hope to impart to my children is the value, satisfaction and pleasure of a job well done. No matter how small the task or how great the goal, it takes dong the work, and that is something everyone can do.
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