You’ve gotta put in the work. We’ve all heard that phrase one time or another. You want nice things? Put in the work. You want a good life? Put in the work. You want things to change? Well, you guessed it – put in the work. Rarely have I seen a phrase so deeply misunderstood.
Show up to your thankless job every day, it seems to say. Work yourself to the bone, never complain, always do what you’re told. Sorry, but if this is what it means to put in the work, then I will choose oblivion every time.
Luckily, this is not what it means. At least I profoundly do not believe it to. Instead of thinking about putting in the work as something you just have to suffer through despite yourself, despite what you love, and despite what you think is right, I would say that putting in the work means the exact opposite.
Show up for yourself and for what you love every day. Don’t tire of standing up for your values or, if you are not sure what they are, for figuring them out. Once you find them, there will not be any doubt left in your mind. Also, do as you say. In other words, put your money where your mouth is.
Then you are putting in the work. Because none of these things are easy. In fact, they may be some of the hardest things in the world. They will challenge everything about you and about your life. But if you are not doing this, then what are you doing?