Remember that episode of Friends where Joey pretends a Porsche parked on the street as his own? Then to try and play it up he covers himself, head-to-toe, in Porsche merch. Ross passes by him on the street and asks him, “Did a Porsche throw up on you?!” Our house is getting to be like that, kind of, with swag from my wife’s company. She was gone on a week-long trip, I opened up her suitcase to put stuff away, and all the leftover swag that didn’t get into the hands of potential clients fell out. It was like like her luggage was spitting up her swag a little in the hallway.
Everyone has their dreams they dream. Some people work harder than others to achieve their dreams than others. Then there are some who dream, don’t do any work, and wonder what is wrong with them. Or they wonder how the people who are seeing the rewards of their hard work got so lucky. I can be that way temporarily at times. I hear of cool things people acquire for whatever reason, and I think they are so lucky. Then I remember whatever the reason they are getting whatever cool thing they get is because of the work they put in, possibly for years and likely for very little reward for a long time. I’ll tell you what I am talking about.
There are a couple of podcasts that I listen to that are not part of larger media outlets like NPR, or The New York Times. A couple of the shows started as a couple of people in their garages or living rooms, turned on microphones and a computer, and pressed record. These shows have created a following of loyal listeners. Their show didn’t start off as a hit, or immediately go viral like NPR’s Serial or S-Town. It was a slow build.
As well as podcasts, I have heard other stories of authors or public speakers and how long they had been doing their work before they were an “overnight success”. One way I saw it was in a “Successories” type of quote that said “Overnight Success Takes Years.”
One particular podcast that I listen to was started by two guys literally in one of their living rooms. It is a hockey podcast, and they have listeners across the world, with a very loyal following in Australia of all places. Loyal listeners in the the country often send the show hosts a local dessert from Australia. Other listeners around the world send them hockey jerseys of their local teams, or just jerseys of teams with cool logos. When they are opening packages they receive and describe it, I get a little jealous sometimes. I ask myself, “Why don’t I get free stuff?” These guys don’t get paid to do their show, though. Sometimes they have sponsors, but for a long time they paid to produce the show and give it out for free. It is a weekly show, each episode is often two hours or more, and they have not missed a week in ten years. THAT is why they get free stuff. Listeners are grateful to have the podcast and want to show their appreciation and thanks. There was a period of time they were recording the show during a graveyard shift because that was the time they had access to recording equipment.
I also listen to a local morning radio show and follow their Instagram account where they post pictures of free food local places will send over for promotion or just for fun. What did they do to deserve all those cupcakes? Or those yummy looking sandwiches? Or all that pizza? Oh nothing. They just spent 20 years making people laugh in the morning on their way to work, put on concerts with some of the most popular bands in the world, and just generally entertain people. That’s all. Just that for 20 years.
For us normal folk, the rewards and spoils of life take hard work. It might take a more time for some compared to others, but hopefully there were a few lessons learned along the way. As kids, most of us can’t understand how other people get so lucky. Recently, my youngest wasn’t advancing having a hard time getting motivated to go to karate class. She was frustrated that it had been sooo loooong since she earned her last stripe (the dojo we go to has a 3-stripe process to advance to the next belt). She forgot, however, that she had taken a couple of months away from karate class and was only going once a week to play hockey instead. Hockey ended, she picked up karate again, and after three weeks she got her next two stripes on back-to-back days. She remembered the benefits of hard work.
It is hard to remember in the moment, for all of us of all ages at different stages of life, that things take time, sometimes the road takes longer than expected, and the process is just as important as the destination. Two things to remember: Work takes work and it’s worth the work; and kids are looking to you as role models. They love copying you, so copy some hard work and they might follow in your footsteps.
A good reminder is you reap what you sow. It may sound cliche, I know, but you can’t deny that it’s true, can you? Sure, some kids are going to grow up trying to avoid hard work no matter what you do. Or if you are a lazy parent, your kids might do the opposite of you. Who knows, but I know my girls are watching me so it’s up to me to set the best example I can.
When my daughter earned her stripes, she was so proud of herself, and I was so proud of her as well. She was a little disappointed that she has to wait a month before she can officially get promoted and get her next belt, but in the meantime she is more motivated to go to class compared to the beginning of the month.
Also, since Christianity and faith in God rule our house, my wife and I encourage our kids to do their best because we serve God in what we do. What we do matters also because as we serve God in our actions, people are watching and seeing how we react and walk in the world. This is important to me, because that means I need to clean up my act too.
Whatever you do, put in the work. Yeah, most days it sucks to work hard. I certainly wish I didn’t have to, but I know there is a greater reward down the line for me. The reward may not even be for me, but if my kids are rewarded by my hard work and learn how to build on it, that would be worth it.
Now go bust your ass!
After you watch this video: https://youtu.be/ZqWa1c4sf9Q