Regardless of what your ambitions may be (both professional and personal) or what advantages or privileges you may have been born into, in order to reach your full potential and accomplish your dreams, you will need to work long and hard.
But working hard won’t yield the same results as working hard and working smart. For some people, working hard and smart for an extended period of time despite the difficulties and obstacles coming your way is almost second nature. These people have a strong work ethic, and they are likely to be very successful at whatever they set out to do.
This doesn’t mean the game is rigged with the results set out in advance. A strong work ethic can be learned and developed over time.
In this short article, we’ll be taking a look at what components make up a strong work ethic, what are the characteristics of someone with a strong work ethic, how to develop these components and characteristics, and what actions or mindsets should be avoided. In order to simplify a rather complex subject – and to make it easier to keep in mind – we’ll break down strong work ethic into 4 components that spell out the word REAP – Reliability Efficiency, Adaptability, and Productivity.
Those who possess a strong work ethic REAP the rewards. let’s take a closer look at these components and consider how they can be initiated, fostered, and optimized.
Someone with a strong work ethic does what they say they are going to do. This implies the following:
- They don’t make promises they aren’t positive they will be able to keep.
- They are careful not to spread themselves out too thin as their reliability is a source of pride and a priority.
- They expect the same level of reliability (or similar) from whomever they are dealing with.
How to Foster Reliability?
Being someone others can count on in a quality whose value is immeasurable – regardless of the field of activity or the context. Earning this reputation will not happen overnight. However, there are some behaviours you can adopt immediately to help make sure you are on the right path towards developing a reputation of being reliable.
- Communicate your commitment – When someone solicits your help, let them know by outright stating “I will do it. You can count on me.” Let them know that this kind of promise from you is important to you and honoring it is a high priority.
- Stick it out to the end – If you find that you have got yourself in a situation that is not favorable to you – you’ve agreed to participate in a project that is not turning out to be what you intended – you may be tempted to walk away. You may even be able to convince yourself that the person you committed to will understand (“It’s early enough for me to bow out gracefully”, for example).
However, it is important that you consider what consequences abandoning a project you’ve committed to could yield.
- Quitting might become an easy solution for you to take when you come up against adversity. This will dull your abilities to overcome obstacles and may lead to complacency and a lax work ethic.
- You may develop the reputation of being unreliable.
- You will miss out on taking satisfaction from a job done, a project completed.
Efficiency is all about maximizing resources time included- finding the best tools and methods to accomplish what you’re setting out to achieve. Everyone wants to do more with less. But being efficient involves more than just that. It involves doing better with better management of the resources available to you.
A few tips to keep in mind when trying to be a more efficient worker:
- Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep or rest. More doesn’t always mean better. Working more may not necessarily translate into working better or even into getting more done.
- Maximize your optimal work times. If you’re a morning person, you should plan accordingly. Go to bed early and be ready to attack your work bright and early in the morning. If you work better during other times of the day, set your work and play schedule accordingly.
A person with a good work ethic does not get flustered easily. He or she can roll with the punches – and punch back when necessary! The importance of adaptability is one of the reasons it’s a bad idea to abandon projects or jobs before they are completed. Adaptability (like all skills) needs to be worked on. It is like a muscle that must be used or else it will atrophy.
A few tips to keep in mind when trying to improve your adaptability:
- Develop an appreciation for variety. Diversity, a multitude of perspectives, and people with other ways of thinking should be constants in your environment. You should be surrounded by these catalysts for adaptability and learn to appreciate the plethora of ways one can go about achieving a given end.
- Recognize your comfort zone and take pride in the instances where you leave it. It’s OK to put yourself in a situation you are comfortable in. It actually makes good common sense. However, it’s important that you not fall into the mindset of equating what isn’t comfortable for you as a necessarily bad thing. Instead, acknowledge when you are out of your element, and celebrate your courage, curiosity, and adaptability.
This is the name of the game. It’s all about output. Whether you’re concerned about surviving the corporate world or about developing your own business, your success will boil down, to a large extent, to your productivity.
Productivity is directly linked to three things:
If you are interested in building a strong work ethic, you need to spend some time focusing on your organizational skills and your ability to prioritize. (The two go hand in hand.)
there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to being organized. The methods that are likely to work for you may not be successful with someone else. Everyone is wired differently. So it is a good idea to experiment with various strategies that are meant to help you to stay organized before adopting the one that suits you best.
The Bottom Line
A strong work ethic is not something you are born with. It comes about after years of adopting good behaviors and developing the right frame of mind. Challenge yourself to constantly improve. The sky’s the limit – unless you aspire to explore space, then, in that case, set your own limits. And surpass them!
Russell Ridgeway is an American writer based in Budapest, Hungary. He writes in business, tech, and fashion, as well as creative fiction. You can reach him by email.