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Defining Hard Work: Navigating the Real Hard Work Zone

June 7, 2023

How do you define hard work?

What is Hard Work?

Is your definition solely limited to work that is labeled as “hard”? Have you ever considered the intricacies of this idea? I was pondering this thought recently and it prompted me to dive deeper into how we define hard work, particularly as it relates to success.


What makes hard work, hard work?

Is it considered hard work if you actually enjoy doing it? Does it count as hard work if you’re all pumped up, energized, and thrilled about doing it? Can we even call it hard work if we genuinely like it?

What about work that’s difficult, complex, exhausting, time-consuming, or even painful? Does that automatically fall into the hard work category? What if the work is easy? Can we still say that it’s hard work?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no, it’s not that simple. The definition of hard work goes way beyond that. In my book, hard work is all about the stuff we hate doing. It’s the mental part that makes it hard. It not the actual difficulty of the work that’s the real struggle – it’s the work we don’t enjoy.

You know, like those grueling stair training sessions, the endless paperwork, or those quad busting leg workouts that no one looks forward too (leg day, am I right?). It’s putting in the effort when we’re tired, diving into the pool even if swimming isn’t our thing, conquering those steep hill, reading through contracts, editing, making those dreaded cold calls, doing research, writing proposals, and yeah, even inputting data into Salesforce. It’s all the shitty tasks, big or small, that we simply can’t stand doing.

It’s not about how hard the work is, but rather how much we like the work.


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When we’re not into something, it becomes way tougher. It’s an uphill battle because our motivation takes a hit. Our drive to complete it, or simply to keep going, funnels down the drain.


The Work Zones

The Easy Zone

The simple stuff, the sweet spot, work is a breeze, and we enjoy doing it. It’s definitely not hard work. Nobody’s gonna argue about that. The easy zone is reserved for being on a vacation or indulging in our favorite hobbies. The tasks are easy, we absolutely love doing it, it’s a no-brainer, and it get’s done effortlessly.


The Convincer Zone(s)

The convincer zone is where it gets dangerous. They sneakily make us believe we’re doing hard work because the work isn’t a walk in the park. The truth though, this isn’t hard work either. The convincer zones push us to work harder than we actually want to, but let’s be real, they don’t qualify as hard work. in these zones, we find ourselves tackling things that might be tough, complicated, physically demanding, or time-consuming, but we like them, so they can’t be classified as hard work. We genuinely like getting our hands dirty with these tasks, so they don’t fit the hard work bill.

On the flip side, sometimes these convincer zones trick us into believing we’re putting in the hard work because we’re dealing with tasks that we absolutely loathe. It might not be physically demanding, complex, time-consuming, or even difficult, but we despise it with a passion. We hate doing it, and that’s why we see it as hard work. We convince ourselves that we’re really grinding it out.

These convincer zones create a massive roadblock to greatness. They hold us back from truly reaching our full potential because they make us believe we’re working hard without need to go that extra mile. They build a wall of greatness, blocking us from the promised land. These zones convince us we’re doing everything we need to do to crush it, even when we’re not. Sneaky little buggers, aren’t they?


Real Hard Work Zone

The real hard work zone is the only zone that truly represents hard work. When we don’t like doing something, and it’s fucking difficult, complex, strenuous, demanding, grueling, tedious, or exhausting it’s hard work.  The Real Hard Work Zone is what we get to when we power through the wall.  The real hard work zone takes real discipline. When we’re truly working hard, we’re playing at a different level. We’re outside our comfort zone and the only thing motivating us to spend time doing things we don’t like that are difficult, painful, complicated and onerous is a desire to win, to succeed.

If you want break out, get to the next level, crush it, and pull ahead of the competition learn how to get good at doing really hard work, work that you don’t like to do AND is really, really hard.


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