White-collar workers

Consider the banker, consultant, or other multinational corporate worker. He or she demands high compensation, business class travel arrangements, and so on. No one would think of asking them to do manual labor, let alone janitorial tasks.

They're above all that.

That's because their jobs are so valuable and meaningful, right?

Think again.

Entrepreneurs and founders

Consider the entrepreneur or founder--someone who feels ownership of the project. He or she will do what it takes to get the job done.

How do you know?

Imagine an important person--a client, a potential hire, an investor, etc--is coming to the office, the toilet stops up, and there's no time for a plumber to come and fix it.

When you feel that sense of ownership, when something has to be done and no one else will do it, you do it.

When there's no alternative, you fix the toilet.

What it takes to succeed


Because that's what it takes to succeed.

Because when the meaning of your work is your vision, every thing you do for it is a part of realizing that vision. If that means running across town at 2am because that's the only place with the part you need, you do it.

When I say entrepreneur or founder, it could be someone who started a project within a company, a non-profit, a community organization, political party, and so on. The important part is the sense of ownership and vision.

Meaning and purpose

Does the work's meaning and purpose come from inside or does the work require big external incentives?

What you'll fix the toilet for means a project and result you care about, even love. What you have to be paid a lot of money for or you won't do it... how much can you love it?

Would you fix a toilet for your work?

If not, and not that you'd enjoy it, but do you wish you loved your work so much that you would?

Leadership and instilling ownership

If you lead a team, can you give your teammates such a sense of ownership that they'd do what it took to get the job done?

If you weren't a team leader, do you think if you had the skills to inspire that passion in your teammates that you'd become a leader?