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Senior Correspondent

Working Hard vs. Working Easy

Working Hard vs. Working Easy


"Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been effort stored up in the past." – Theodore Roosevelt

Confession time: I work for the most difficult boss ever. She is demanding, constantly pushing improvement, continuously challenging me to learn new things. She expects me to do more with less, work hard, do whatever it takes and be 100 percent accountable. There is just no hiding from this woman. She is committed to excellence, hates excuses and is obsessed with making sure clients and those we interact with gain maximum value.

So, why do I put up with all of this?

I am self-employed — that makes me "my own boss," so to speak. She is me, I am she. The Quality Coach! is my company, along with my partner's, Coach Hank. It's a conundrum, alright.

I have quit on occasion. She has even fired me a few times. But there I am — back the next day, rolling up my sleeves, ready to rock 'n roll. And somehow I have magically decided that she is the best boss ever for giving me the time and space to sort things out.

This scenario plays out day after day throughout our country, and perhaps the world, for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. We business owners tend to ask way more of ourselves than we would ever imagine asking of others. Not that there's anything wrong with that — unless, of course, it is taken to extremes.

While recently relaxing after an intense week, I came upon an article by Ernest Holmes about "working easy," and it really caught my attention. Holmes said, "The one who works the easiest accomplishes the most." He suggests that when we think of our workload as hard, the work will be hard, creating a sense of stress and strain. When we think of our workload as easy, we will flow from one task to another with a sense of purpose and ease — and we will be far more productive. I am thinking that "working easy" may be a keystone to working smarter. Holmes was quick to point out that "working easy" does not mean that we aren't giving our best — quite the contrary.

We've all been taught the virtues of working hard. We've built our identities around being hard workers. We say good things about hard workers. We don't say good things about easy workers. We feel we have earned our keep when we work hard. What would we talk about if not for how hard we work?

Is it possible that we humans are making our work more complex and challenging than it really is — than it needs to be — just so we can work hard and feel better about ourselves?

I am planning to sit down and have a little talk with my boss about all this. What if I could get more accomplished in a shorter period of time by working easy? I think she would go for that. Then I could work hard on my bicycle to prepare for some easy riding this spring.

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