I heard a quote from Rory Vaden, New York Times bestselling author of Take the Stairs, recently. He said, “You always get paid for the work you do; sometimes now, often times later, but always eventually.” It harkens back to the biblical proverb, “As a man sows, so shall he reap.”
Sometimes, these statements appear not to be true. For instance, when banks have to be bailed out by trillions of dollars of taxpayer money because they lent without regard to the recipients’ abilities to repay, or when “Green” companies get hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, only to fold without contributing one bit of service or product they promised. How about when an average family of four pays out over $22,000 per year for their healthcare (recent study)? Consider when college students default on 10’s of thousands of dollars in student loan money they used to take Spring Break trips to Cancun and pay car payments on their new sports car, but never graduated from college? And what about those who pour their blood, sweat and tears into a family business, only to see the economy tank, the business fail, and they end up in personal bankruptcy? This world does not seem to be fair when one looks at these scenarios. It does not appear that people are reaping what they sow.
That is why I like the Vaden quote. It helps us get the long-term view and realize that “eventually,” THE HARD WORK WILL PAY OFF. The application of this truth in the work place is best explained by the “Flywheel Principle,” offered by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great. The concept is that you have a massive 5,000 pound steel wheel that lies horizontal on its axis. One push will not move it, but consistent force, over time, in a constant direction, starts the flywheel in motion. It moves, oh so slowly at first, then faster and faster, until at some point the momentum of the flywheel is greater than the force of all the pushing, causing it to spin on its own.
That is how we see Vaden’s quote becomes real in our work life. If we work consistently, doing the everyday things every day, we will build momentum. We will start to accomplish more in less time as we continue to push toward our clear direction. If we let up, we will lose momentum. If we are not clear about our direction, we will lose ground. But if we continue, day in and day out to deliver our best, it will pay-off for our organizations, our customers, and for our careers and personal growth.
Still skeptical? How can I know that will really happen?
The truth is I cannot prove it to you. It is a leap of faith. Millions of people everyday check out and give up on the process. The flywheel feels more like a millstone grinding them down, day after day, so they quit. I wonder how many were one push away from the momentum swing that would have led them to the success they had been striving for? The principle can apply in any arena; work, marriage, parenting, personal finance, etc.
Whatever areas you are fighting to succeed in, I encourage you to keep on pushing. Also, if you have been through the process and your flywheel is humming, jump over to help someone else push on theirs. The only thing more exciting than personal success is helping someone else achieve theirs!
In the end, you will reap what you sow. There is no free ride, no Checkfree. If you want to succeed, you are going to have to PayPal!