Hard work is but one of the ways you can achieve your goals. For those of us who aren’t inordinately wealthy, smart, or lucky, it’s the only way. While each person’s path to success will be unique, the anatomy of the hard work that they do often looks very similar. For most successful people, the hard work that they put forth included all of the following:

  1. The Drive – This is the motivation, the inspiration, the entire reason you work hard. This is the engine that pushes your efforts forward.
  2. The Plan – If The Drive is the heart of your hard work, then the plan is the skeleton. The plan maps out your course of action and helps plot your progress and keep you on track.
  3. The Grind – The Grind is the point when working hard stops being fun and exciting and starts becoming tedious, stressful and perhaps even discouraging. How you handle the grind is often what separates the winners from the quitters.
  4. The Sacrifice – This is the crux of hard work, and the one thing that makes hard work truly hard. Any ambitious goal requires significant personal sacrifice. Enduring the strain in your relationships, finances and comfort level is the real test.
  5. The Payoff – This is the brass ring. In order for hard work to be worthwhile, you have to define a number of goals and milestones and recognize when you’ve achieved them. And once you do, you have to up the ante and keep going.
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