Now this particular trait may be a no-brainer for a lot of folks, however I still think it’s an admirable trait for all men to have. In my experiences, particularly in leaderships, I have seen some amazing examples of people who were hardworking and then those that didn’t do much of anything and just got by. Hardworking, what does this really mean. If your considered a hard worker, I would say that it means you do the job to the very best of your abilities, go above and beyond what has been asked and leave those around you feeling great about your abilities and follow through.
I believe this is one of the few good traits my parents passed on to me. I grew up on a 28-acre farm in Montana and there was always something that had to be done. Often times there were large projects my family and I would have to do to make sure our land and animals were taken care of properly. It wasn’t easy work in fact a lot of it was difficult and time-consuming. My sister, parents and I were the only ones there to carry out these tasks. We would go about it as a team and give it all we had until it was finished. My dad was a perfectionist and so he would make sure everything was done with precision and care so that it turned out correctly. The only drawback to all this was he was a smoker and a coffee drinker and we would have to take many breaks so that he could get his fix.
To this day I hate taking breaks when I am working on a project, when I have something that I need to get done I go head on until it’s completed. Nothing irritates me more than having to stop along the way. In almost all areas of my life I am a perfectionist. Granted I am by no means perfect and it doesn’t transcend every area of my life, otherwise I might look like an ad on GQ. I often wonder why it doesn’t cross over into all areas, but that’s a whole other subject. I am the type of person that when I do something I am fully vested in it, I give it everything I have. I am committed and will go above and beyond what is asked of me so that whatever I am doing I can be proud of it and not have to wish I had done a better job.
As a father, I find it’s a difficult balance to weigh this out with my kids. I want to push them so many times to be better than they are, but I also don’t want to cross the line where they feel they will never be good enough. I think as parents we all battle this. We always want our kids to do better than we did and so we push them. I want my kids to understand the value in hard work as well as being committed to whatever they do.
As a husband I apply these same things to my marriage and relationship with my wife. When issues or problems arise I want to deal with them correctly. Marriage is the one thing I have always wanted the most and it’s the one thing I have to work the hardest on for it to continue to be great. I can’t for a moment become passive in this area, or it will fall apart. Being married for over 15 years I know I have learned a thing or two.
Being a husband, father and friend and all that I am involved in, and believe me, there is A LOT. I have no time to be lazy or passive. I am not the type of dad that comes home and just lets life pass me by while I sit in the chair with my pipe, slipper and drink. Men if that’s still your goal today, you better take a long hard look at yourself and your life. Put down the drink and smokes and get busy. I am cleaning, helping kids with homework, making dinner, responding to e-mails, writing and planning events at church and generally busy with my next project.
There are so many areas in our lives that I believe we just let things slide, or we say I will come back to it later and yet somehow we never really return. Maybe because of hurts and pains, or maybe its just because we really aren’t willing to put the hard work into that area needs that needs it. Where does that leave us? It leaves us wounded and ineffective. As men there is a lot required of us and so many men just choose to get by in life. A couple of years ago I talked with a man who was retiring and told me, “You know I have worked all my life and I have earned the right to just sit back and do nothing now.” I was shocked at this. Really, I don’t know where it’s written we just get to sit back and take it easy and that we are owed something. I believe he missed the bigger picture by a long shot. He is now available to devote his time to things he was never able to do before, and I am not just talking playing golf or moving south. I would have hoped he might have considered volunteering and mentoring, those are some great ways to give back. Investing in the lives of young children, especially boys who need strong role models are a great alternative.
So many men are wounded and dying because of circumstances and events in their life. They just give up and stop trying; it truly saddens me to see men like this everywhere I turn. I am sure at some point they had hopes and dreams and were full of passion and desire, but somewhere along the line that changed for them and little by little they lost their way and for a myriad of reasons won’t take back what was taken from them. Is this really the type of man you want to be? I hope not. Step up to the plate and start swinging. Start the hard work that needs to be done and reclaim your life. Find someone to help you carry out this. Whatever it takes, do it and do it now. Time is off the essence. Laziness and apathy are not characteristic real authentic men should even have as part of their vocabulary.
Life is about choices that we make. You can choose to just get by and float through life, that’s a choice, not an honorable one in my opinion, but it’s a choice. Or, you can choose to give all of yourself and more in all areas of your life. Hard work is just that, hard, but the rewards are as they say in the commercials are “Priceless”. Whatever we choose to do, let us do it with the hard work it truly deserves.