Sometimes there’s no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and putting in the work. In fact, many music veterans determine how long a new star will be around based on their work ethic. In theatre it’s how much work an actor does to understand their character outside of the pages in the script. In sports it’s the athlete’s time in the gym, working on their skills, and understanding their opponents when the coach isn’t breathing down their neck. In all of these cases, the seasoned leaders understand that in order to get an edge, you have to be willing to put in more work than the people you’re competing with.

There is no substitute.

If you wanna be special…You Gotta Work B!t%h!
– Britney Spears

But there are ways to work harder, smarter. So we are sharing what we at Lillian James Creative have discovered as the best way to work harder, but in a way that does not alienate you, and best positions you for success without burnout.

Set an attainable stretch goal

Think about your work in terms of jogs and sprints. Your jogs are where you are actually burning calories and getting in shape, but your sprints are where you build up momentum and create the endurance muscle strength that separates you from everyone else. If your normal day-to-day work is your jogging equivalent, let your sprints be what gives you an edge over your competition. What should you want to accomplish over that sprint? Try starting at the finish line – what can you accomplish in 2 weeks that would improve results and have a lasting impact.

Pre-plan what you have to sacrifice to get there

Where is your extra time going to come from? What are you going to have to move around or sacrifice in order to make it happen? Plan it in advance so you can make sure it doesn’t tip you over the edge into exhaustion and the poor decision making that comes with it.

Get the stakeholders in your life on the same page

They’ve gotta know the plan! If they don’t, they will feel abandoned and resentful. They will not understand later if they do not feel briefed ahead of time and in on it before you start. Trust us, you want them emotionally invested in the “why” behind your being away.

Self-care it up

Once you’ve finished your sprint, make time for friends and family. Reconnect, bond, do things that the fam (we hear that’s what cool people call a family) like to do. One mistake people make is they get done with a sprint and they just relax without being intentional about what they’re going to do with the fam who misses them. Give that the same intentionality you do work, and your personal life will be easier.

So if you want to reach the success you believe you deserve, commit to sacrificing for short periods of time so that you can reach your goals. Make sure to get your family and team on board, and do it in sprints with self-care in-between. If you take this approach, you will set yourself up for uncommon success.