Do you want to be on top in your field? The bar is lower than you think, but few people even attempt to jump it. They will talk about jumping over it, but when it comes time for them to make the leap, they step back.
You don’t have to be smarter than your peers, start out with more money than the other people in your class, or have better tools than the competition.
You just have to be more persistent than them. Show up and do the work every single day. Keep pushing forward when others stop.
Attributing success to luck is an excuse we tell ourselves. Saying, “You are lucky to have made that huge sale!” ignores the reality that sales are more likely to happen when someone puts in the work to generate and follow up with leads.
Whatever it is you want to be the best at, go out and do more of it. Take it a day at a time. Move forward in a meaningful way each day.
It takes a lot of work. Determination won’t be enough. You’ll need to build habits and design systems that keep you on track. On the days when you are sick, didn’t sleep enough, and just don’t feel like doing it, you’ll need routines to turn to that allow you to keep moving forward.
What you have going for you is that very few people are willing to do this. If you actually show up, push through, and ship more work than everyone else, you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to reach those rungs above you on the ladder.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a manual laborer, financial analyst, server at a restaurant, executive, budding author, carpenter, or musician. The path to the top is the same:
Do more. Improve on the things that don’t work. Repeat this process every single day.
- Build more apps. Streamline their architecture and increase your user base.
- Write more blog posts. Tighten up the language and work on your SEO.
- Paint more paintings. Become more efficient with your brush and find the best paint.
- Stock more shelves. Optimize the order in which you stock items in your section.
- Take more photos. Improve your framing and use of light.
- Fix more cars. Repair each transmission with fewer steps. Leave your shop cleaner than it was the day before.
- Shovel more manure. Optimize the size of each scoop to minimize the strain on your muscles. Learn the best way to fill each wheelbarrow.
- Follow up with more leads. Figure out what language works the best and which channels they are coming from.
- Cook more meals. Be more creative to make the most of what you have on hand. Learn how to clean as you go.
- Brew more beer. Make each batch taste a little better than the last one.
- Build more tables. Refine the edges and cut each board with more precision than the last.
- Write more journal articles. Refine your arguments and provide more proof.
- Make more sales calls. Keep improving those introductions and do more research on each lead.
- Play more chords. Improve your timing with each play-through.
- Market in more channels. Cut the weak ones and double down on the strong ones. Test new channels each week.
- Run more miles. Cut one second off of your route each time you run it. that is less time than it took you to read this bullet point.
- Wait on more tables. Improve your people skills to get more tips and repeat customers.
- Clean more bathrooms. Become a little more efficient each day.
- Write more content. Improve your wording, explain things better, and make it a better fit for your audience.
- Throw more pottery. Work on your trimming precision and the steadiness of your hand.
- Make more cocktails. Memorize the recipes, learn which tastes work well together, and work on getting your proportions right without measuring.
- Read more books. Take better notes, read faster, and work on your retention and recall.
- Create more videos. Work on your timing, transitions, angles, and lighting.
- Plant more seeds. Learn which depths, soils, temperatures, and weather conditions lead to the best crop, then double down.
- Deploy more code. Be more efficient with CPU and memory usage, minimize the number of bugs you ship, and improve your automated testing.
- Write more songs. Improve your melodies, word play, and length.
- Install more cabinets. Improve the fluidity of each hinge. Sand each rough edge more judiciously.
Get the picture?
You know what you need to do. Stop wishing you were doing it and go out and do it. The only thing standing in the way is you.
These ideas aren’t original, but they are worth repeating. The ideas in this post came from listening to a Design Matters podcast with Seth Godin, chatting with Isaac Morehouse, watching a Gary Vaynerchuk video, talking with my Dad, and observing Derek Magill.