How to Develop a Strong Work Ethic
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Developing a strong work ethic is like learning to ride a bike. You might fail at first, but if you're determined to succeed you'll find yourself picking up speed, fueled by the power of your will and ability. Don't get discouraged if it seems like you're going uphill. If the ride doesn't get easier, your muscles will get stronger.
Change Your Mindset
A strong work ethic begins with the decision to succeed, regardless of the circumstance. To achieve this goal, you will have to adjust your mindset. Learn to see opportunities where others see obstacles. Immerse yourself in the words of others who have already achieved the goal you're working toward. Post inspirational quotes around your living and work space so you will be constantly reminded to think new thoughts. When you feel discouraged, take a break to learn about someone who has surmounted the insurmountable. Remind yourself constantly -- "If he can overcome, so can I."
You must find a reason from within to excel. External motivation will not get the job done. Whether your goal is to exceed your quota at work, get a promotion or start your own business, look for reasons that ignite a self-sustaining spark within you. Reasons like more money, approval and professional acknowledgment will fizzle out if not powered by something deeper. Find a way to personalize your efforts: better quality of life for you and your family, for example, or the chance to make a real difference in your community or field of service.
Consistency is key when it comes to a strong work ethic. Think of your work ethic like a physical muscle. You won't build up your muscles if you work out sporadically, regardless of how much you sweat when you do hit the gym. The people who see results -- physically and mentally -- are the ones who set a pace they can maintain, and then resolve to maintain it. For example, if you want to write a novel but you have a busy work schedule, decide to write for 20 minutes a day every day. If you stick to your goal and put in consistent effort -- no matter how small -- you will eventually yield results.
Organize Your Time
If will is the vehicle that drives your work ethic, organization is the engine. Regardless of how hard you try or how bad you want it, achieving your goals will be difficult if you scatter your energy. Take a look at your long- and short-term goals and schedule your time accordingly. What do you want to accomplish this week, month, quarter, year? Take the guesswork out of what you should be doing from moment to moment. When you have the foresight to plan and the discipline to follow your plan, success is inevitable.
There will always be people who know things you don't know, regardless of your level of motivation. Ask the advice of the people you respect about your progress. Even if you don't take their advice, it will give you another perspective that could be helpful in the future. Developing a strong work ethic means using all the tools in your toolbox, including the ideas and experiences of others.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.
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