I couldn’t possibly count how many times entrepreneurs that want my advice proceed to tell me that they can’t share their actual idea because they want to keep it a secret. Why? They think that the idea is worth a ton. Bullshit! I have a ton of great ideas too – teach every inner city kid to be an entrepreneur, utilize the energy of idle chit-chat at your local Starbucks to power the grid, and to leverage every cancelled doctors appointment to optimally support every person in need. Want to invest? Of course not, because ideas not backed by execution is worthless.
Execution involves a lot of elements: intellect, focus, perseverance, and pure effort. Gary Vaynerchuk, a wildly successful man in everything from retail wine sales to sports representation, has this to say: “effort is grossly underrated.”
There is a common phrase of “work smarter, not harder.” I get the appeal of that. Effort without clarity, efficiency, and effectiveness, has severe limits. Working smart is essential. But does that mean working hard has no value? No, effort is grossly underrated.
I believe we should aspire to work smarter and harder. Neither is sufficient, both are required. Intelligence and creativity are essential elements to working smart. Every individual must make contributions to their partners and organizations with good ideas that move things along. When there is a lack of working smart, resources are wasted by working on the wrong things, in the wrong ways, toward the wrong ends. But smart is not enough, because without hard work no ideas will come to fruition. Ideas are worthless, only providing value when they are realized through the efforts and accomplishments of those who bring them to life. In any pursuit, towards any end, working hard and smart is essential.