If you want to succeed at what you’re doing, this is a question you need to ask yourself: “Do I really care enough about my job?”
Do you care about being the best in the world? Or putting in the hours to improve your craft? Are the rewards of your work worth all the sacrifices you made?
Because if the answer is not a resounding “YES!” then it’s time to reconsider what you’re doing. “But winners never quit, right?” Not exactly. Successful people do quit. The difference between a successful and a not-successful person is this: The former knows how to quit the wrong things. And they quit it at just the right time.
“Wrong things” means jobs and careers you don’t truly care about. If you’re only working a job to pay the bills, that’s understandable as long as it’s temporary. (If your finances are so bad right now, you can check this guide to have a better overview of the steps you can take).
Eventually, you’ll need to put some serious thought into your career. You don’t want to spend all your life chasing after bills, do you?
Back when I worked in sales, I saw how other people could succeed even in high-pressure, high-competition industries. I saw folks who were considered great. And they often had some things in common:
- They showed up early and stayed late
- They paid a lot of attention to the details
- They set very high standards for their results and stuck to it
- and so forth.
But here’s the thing: People who imitated those habits didn’t become the best. That’s an assumption many people make. Just copy the habits of successful people and you’ll succeed too, right? But that’s not the deciding factor of success.
Instead, I learned that people who became the best in their fields took their job 10 times more seriously than everybody else. And that’s exactly what made them succeed the way they did.
Case study: Becoming a UFC champion despite being a busy father
When Brazilian mixed-martial artist Charles Oliveira became a father in 2017, people didn’t expect he’d become the UFC lightweight champion just four years later.1Source: Sportskeeda It impressed all sorts of people, including the famous MMA commentator, Joe Rogan.
Being a new father, Oliveira knew he had to make certain sacrifices and work harder to nab the belt. He also had eye problems. But he didn’t let those pull him back from fighting well. In an interview, he said:2Source: BJPENN
“If I take my glasses off, I only see 50 per cent but it never hindered me in a fight… I see three [faces]. If I hit the middle one, that’s fine.”
In 2021, Oliveira became the UFC Lightweight champion and defended the belt successfully against other UFC legends like Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier. While Oliveira lost his belt in late 2022, he will forever be remembered for his amazing comeback and championship fights.
This type of urgency is not only relevant to new parents. Business owners often talk about that same type of feeling of responsibility when it comes to their employees.
But it doesn’t have to be something so big. When you get your first job out of college, it’s normal to feel responsible, to not slack, and to do your best to make up for your salary.
But if you truly care about what you do, you won’t let these things get in your way.
Walk toward the things that scare you
When you have more responsibility, it’s scary. Many of us have the urge to walk away from that feeling. We start doubting ourselves.
- “Can I really be a good parent?”
- “What if my company fails and I have to fire my employees?”
- “What if I fail my exams and my parents will be disappointed?”
- “What if I invest so much time and effort in a venture and it doesn’t work out?”
So many thoughts clutter your mind and instill doubt in you. Here’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned about dealing with this.
The more you walk away from your doubts and insecurities, the stronger they become.
You must do the opposite. Walk towards what scares you. It’s like dealing with a bully. When you always try to run and hide from the bully, you give the bully exactly what it wants.
If you stand up and fight back, the bully loses. This is how you need to deal with your doubts. When you feel fear, it’s a sign that you’re on to something.
The American Tibetan Buddhist, Pema Chodron, who’s the author of When Things Fall Apart, said it best:
“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”
Let’s face it. If you’re scared of something, it means you care. If you’re scared of being a parent, it means you care so much that you don’t want to be a bad parent.
The same is true for the entrepreneur, student, athlete, artist, writer, coder, and any other person who cares.
Caring about something is good. It comes with fear. But that’s the price you pay to be great.