To be successful, there are two things to do:

  1. Do what other people are doing, just do it better.
  2. Do what other people aren't doing.

I walked into the office at 6:30am. One of our newer salespeople was at his desk. The early bird gets the worm is a cliché because it's true more often than not.

There are a lot of people who aren't early risers who crush it. A lot. Usually they are really talented, smart people. Most don't. When you use phrases like "I'm not a morning person," or, "It's not when I get things done," you have to look in the mirror and ask:

  1. Is your career where you want it?
  2. Is your bank account where you want it?
  3. Is your relationship with your manager, director, VP, or C-suite where you want it?

If the answer is no, then how you're approaching things isn't correct. If you are reading this and coming up with defensive, aggressive arguments and counterpoints, read 1-3 above. If you're crushing it and the answer is yes to the questions, you're one of the talented, skilled people that can work on their own clock and timeline. If you can't answer yes to all three, you aren't. Period.

What do other people do? Wake up. Get dressed. Go to work. Communicate. Start with the basics of doing it better than your competitors. Get up earlier than them. Have your clothes ironed, clean and matching. Look good. Plan your commute. Be ready for the, traffic, etc. Taking the train or bus? Take the earlier ride to be safe. Driving? Have a full tank of gas. Not everyone knows what's going on in the world. Knowing current events makes you more intelligent and a better conversationalist so read the paper or listen to a news program.

Those who don't do the above complain they don't have enough time.

Focus on projects at hand. Before you ask questions, Google to find the answer. Ask peers to red pen your letters and emails. Learn to write better. There are books, blogs and classes. Find who the best writer in your company is and ask them to edit your work. Think. Execute. Repeat.

What are others doing? Are they taking a class to learn new skills? Are they cross training in other areas? Are they joining associations to learn more? Are they volunteering to be on committees?

If you're happy with where you are in your career, ignore this post. If you're not happy and you don't want to do any more than you are, then I don't have any suggestions.

Being happy in your career without working hard is like trying to lose weight by wearing the vibrating tummy belt. It's foolish.

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