The story goes that after one of Ludwig van Beethoven's performances, several people were offering him their congratulations, when one woman commented, "I wish God had bestowed me with such genius." "It isn't genius, madam, nor is it magic." Beethoven replied. "All you have to do is practice on your piano eight hours a day for 40 years."
That's not the message most people want to hear. Most people would prefer to buy the magazine which headlines, "Miracle Weight Loss Discovery," in the hopes of finding a quick solution before their class reunion, rather than start a daily diet and exercise program. They'd sooner check out a seminar promising, "become a millionaire within months" rather than start a debt reduction, monthly savings plan. And they'd rather put their future hopes in a weekly lottery ticket than in themselves.
It's an instant messaging, plug-and-play world. Too often we bring that instant gratification thinking into our workplace. We have little patience for the business idea that doesn't show an immediate return. We aren't interested in learning how to do something; we just want to do it. We don't want to hit the singles, just the home runs. We want mastery, money and success. And we want it now.
But I learned in twenty years in management that there's no Apprentice show in the workplace, where a few months of successful exercises and projects makes you a contender for a six figure job. The only ticket you can buy to the career lottery is a time-stamped one that takes years of hard work, perseverance and drive to collect.
People who are winning at working know that. They know they're not going to instantly appear at the top of an organization or be text-messaged a significant salary. They know what happens to them, is up to them. Just like a house is built stone-by-stone, they know they build their own work success step-by-step. They know it takes time, and they use that time wisely.
People who are winning at working practice and develop their skills while others remain tourists in the workplace. They do, while others think about doing. They achieve goals while others contemplate them. They execute ideas while others are still discussing them. They step out of their comfort zones to try things and learn from them while others stay trapped in repetitive sameness. They bet on themselves by nourishing their talents through hard work and efforts, knowing like Beethoven, that's the only magic to be found.
© 2006Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Sign up to receive Nan's free biweekly eColumn at http://www.winningatworking.com. Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, small business owner, and on-line instructor. Visit http://www.nanrussell.com or contact Nan at email@example.com.