I think it’s safe to say that most people would agree you need to work hard to get great results, whether those results are achieving a qualification, earning money to live off, getting a job or something else.
 
If we don’t work hard for things we achieve then we take them for granted and/or don’t see their value. It also leads us to not feeling that sense of pride that comes from working hard to achieve something of importance to us.
 
But what is hard work? Some people might say that doing a twelve hour shift in a call centre is hard work, although someone doing an eight hour shift on a building site might scoff at that and think that sitting down in an air conditioned office talking on the phone and typing some information into a computer is child’s play compared to lugging heavy building materials up ladders and across scaffolding at varying levels of height in dangerous conditions exposed to the elements.
Trying to look at it objectively I would say that both situations are equally hard, but using very different skills that make it hard. The worker in both scenarios would most likely struggle with each other’s job even more than they would with their own. The typical call centre worker would probably not be used to working outside in all weathers for a start, let alone all the manual labour which can take it’s toll on the body quite quickly if you’re not conditioned for it. On the other hand, the builder might find it pretty exhausting to be mentally engaged with customers and input accurate data into a system on an ongoing and consistent basis for extended periods. It’s a different kind of demand on the human body but equally exhausting.
With all that being said, there are plenty of people who do combinations of the two extremes just described where both mental and physical demands are required across their working day. All of this hard work is different but can all be objectively seen as “hard” for different reasons.
Then you have people who may not seem to be working as hard as others at the top of their game in the same industry. This where the nuances come into play. What is hard work for one person might be a walk in the park for someone else who has a much greater potential. This is a very individual thing and is very much based on our genetics, both mentally and physically, however it is possible to push yourself passed this built in plateau.
 
With the right guidance, anyone can identify their hidden combination of talents and skills which work in perfect harmony for a specific role, as we rarely need to use all aspects of our abilities at 100% for a specialised task. Some jobs require a wider range of skills than others, so finding the range and combination that suits you is key to knowing where to be focussing your efforts. This could also highlight areas of development where one or more skills are not quite where they need to be in order to open up a whole new set of options.
 
This development is again where hard work is required, particularly if it takes you out of your comfort zone. However, once you understand the reasoning behind the hard work the motivation to push through it becomes more readily available. Once again, it’s important to recognise that this version of hard work is relative to yourself alone, so avoid comparisons with others.
I will write more about finding your ideal specialism in another article, as well as staying motivated to achieve your goals and potential.