[Ep#290] Work Hard to Succeed: The Biggest Myth in Business

Work Hard to Succeed: The Biggest

Myth in Business

Most influencers in business and entrepreneurship would tell you to work hard to succeed . Many of them advocate for 120-hour workweeks and non-stop hustle culture. While putting in the hours is necessary for achieving your goals, it's also the biggest myth in business circles. Long periods of work don't always mean high-impact outcomes, especially if you aren't working efficiently. Clever work will lead to a more sustainable and consistent growth than any amount of hard work.

In this episode, Alaina Schwartz discusses how ‘work hard to succeed’ is a myth. Alaina recommends that people should focus instead on working efficiently by cultivating the state of flow. She proposes a move towards better work-life balance and self-awareness through introspection. Alaina invites us to scrutinise our daily routines and make adjustments based on how we naturally operate.

Are you a frustrated entrepreneur always stressed by time pressure? Then tune in and learn how you can change your work habits through this episode!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn why ‘work hard to succeed’ can make people work less efficiently.
  2. Discover strategies for utilising the benefits of flow on productivity levels.
  3. Understand how inner motivation and work-life balance can lead to long-term personal and professional growth.

LISTEN NOW: (and check out the Resources and Episode Highlights below): 

WATCH NOW (and check out the Resources and Episode Highlights below): 


Episode Highlights

[03:04] Work Hard to Succeed: A Myth?

  • Once something is implanted in your belief system, it can colour how you view the world.
  • One unfortunate belief that some entrepreneurs have is that you need to put in around 120 hours a week to be a successful entrepreneur.
  • On the contrary, the hustle culture activates your stress response. It makes it harder for you to think coherently and creatively.
  • Taking long hours doesn't work if you are constantly putting yourself under stress and hampering your productivity.
  • By harnessing flow in your work processes, you gain access to more significant creative states. You enhance your problem-solving skills.

[05:43] Finding Flow at Work

  • Flow can dramatically increase your efficiency at work. It's an excellent antidote to the unproductive stress that comes from the hustle, “work hard to succeed” culture.
  • The ability to go into flow is like a muscle. You can train yourself to achieve flow more easily.
  • If you change how you think, it also changes how you feel. This relationship between thought and emotion impacts your mood and disposition.
  • The key is to break old habits that focus too much on the hustle. Do something differently, like brushing your teeth using your other hand. Trigger your brain into thinking that this day will be different.
  • You should also reexamine yourself for any persistent beliefs that might be limiting you.

[09:06] Fighting Old and Unproductive Habits

  • Social media apps are addictive, making it easier than ever to get distracted.
  • Limiting access to social media should help you stay focused.
  • Convenience leads to the microwave culture, where we expect everything to be quick and easy. An antidote to this is to increase your attention span.
  • Set focus blocks throughout the day to defend against distractions.
  • Work hard to succeed in changing established habits that might be harming your productivity.

[11:26] Optimising Your Energy

  • Different people have various ways of showing energy at work.
  • Some people have good energy levels throughout the day but suffer from distractions. For these people, distributing work blocks throughout the day should be beneficial.
  • Don't power through your day thinking you need to work hard to succeed. Optimise your time.
  • Other people experience spikes in energy only at certain times of the day. For them, scheduling 90 minutes of intense work in the morning can help quickly accomplish the day's demanding tasks.
  • Overall, self-awareness is necessary if you want to work hard to succeed, but also have your work be sustainable.

[14:02] Internalising Success

  • The universe reflects whatever your mind broadcasts back to you. Your thoughts, feelings and actions can shape the reality that surrounds you.
  • Your internal self-beliefs will impact the level of achievement that you can accomplish.
  • People who rely on external motivation to work hard tend to fail in reaching their goals. They seek one goal after the next in a never-ending journey that eventually leads to burnout.
  • External indicators, such as salary or number of businesses, don't matter if you don't feel fulfilled.
  • A better strategy is to reflect on your internal motivations and keep them in mind whenever you work. Whether it's achieving freedom or security, having internal motivation keeps you rooted and focused.

[16:56] The Importance of Inner Strength

  • Even if you work hard, you're unlikely to reach your target if you don't have introspection time.
  • Inner strength is essential for entrepreneurs, given the high uncertainty that comes with starting your own business. Without mental preparation, it becomes easy to fall prey to impostor syndrome.
  • Don't hesitate to get support for your mental health!
  • A test for limiting beliefs is to observe your reaction upon hearing criticism. Those that bother you tend to trigger your subconscious and hit closer to your limiting beliefs.

[22:22] On Gratitude

  • People who work too hard to succeed often discount the need for self-affirmation. However, gratitude is an essential part of working smart.
  • Being grateful for the good things in life will positively impact your mental health. You end up working much better. It's also a positive feedback loop. Gratefulness makes you more aware of the hidden blessings in your everyday life.
  • Gratitude triggers your reticular activating system in your brain. This activation makes it easier for you to observe scenarios that reaffirm your beliefs. This mental confirmation happens for gratitude as well as for limiting beliefs.
  • Cultivating gratefulness can come in the form of journaling, meditation or even taking more breaks.
  • To become more grateful, you need to practice every day until it becomes a habit.

10 Powerful Quotes

‘And then there's entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, who touts that he works 120 hours a week. And if you want levels of success, you have to like work that hard. And to be honest, it's total bullshit’.

‘Now, athletes will call that being in the zone, right, they can just tell when they're in the zone. And when they lock into the zone, they're just on, like everything that happens just seems to be working out’.

‘Phones are actually really addictive. I mean Facebook has millions of dollars hiring psychologists and MIT grads to get us addicted to devices’.

(On one of Alaina’s clients) ‘And so in the morning, she's really distracted, when she starts to try to focus on work, that takes a lot of attention, she really doesn't get anything accomplished till early afternoon’.

(On go-getters finding self-fulfilment) ‘It never happens, because we're looking for something external to make us feel better about ourselves. And it's an inside out job’.

‘“If I just have this certification, if I just do this, then I'll finally be ready to and fill in the blank, right?” That's a huge limiting belief I see’.

‘And the truth is, is when you're solid in yourself, even if people are talking smack, it wouldn't bother you, right? We're solid in yourself, it won't bother you’.

‘I have my clients, when you keep, for example, a gratitude journal, and you list every day 10 things that you're grateful for, it's not just about listing it, it's about really feeling it’.

‘When you give gratitude for things that you have in your life, then the more gratitude you have, not only do you actually feel better, but then more things like that will show up in your life’.

‘But if you meditate, and you do gratitude, and you do this for like an hour in the morning—I teach my clients this thing called the Power Hour, where they do journaling, gratitude, meditation, etc, in the morning—but then the other 23 hours, the day you go right back into your old patterns, then it's not really helpful’.

About Alaina

Alaina Schwartz is a business strategist, business & mindset coach who's passionate about helping her clients scale their businesses. With over 25 years of business strategy experience, Alaina helps founders and CEOs employ A-Team leadership, effect exponential growth and grow their businesses to 6-7 figures. Her speciality is in blending business with personal development to support clients in developing invincible mindsets through her Business Freedom Formula.

Alaina believes that people can become more productive and have more impact without dedicating all of their waking hours to work. By working smart and adopting sustainable growth, she helps business owners identify bottlenecks and accelerate income growth while avoiding burnout.

Alaina is also the co-founder of The Map – Law Form Strategist For Peak Performance, which provides cutting-edge scientific solutions for increased productivity. Her firm offers one-on-one mentoring, training, retreats and workshops.

Follow Alaina on LinkedIn and visit her website to know more about her initiatives!

Enjoy This Podcast?

‘Work hard to succeed’ is a myth. Instead, we should focus on working efficiently by cultivating the state of flow. Let us all move towards better work-life balance and self-awareness through introspection. If you enjoyed today's episode of Ambitious Entrepreneur Podcast, then hit subscribe now!

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