To be better than almost everybody else in this business, you only need to do two things:
Show up on time.
Keep your promises.
It can really be that simple: Just show up on time and keep your promises. Think about your own experiences when somebody arrives late for a meeting. They only need to be a couple of minutes late for the frustration to start to show. You are not only late, you are disrespecting the other person and disregarding the importance of their time. If you say you’re going to do something, do it, and do it on time.
By sticking to these two simple rules, you can demonstrate how much you care about other people. There are few more powerful forces on earth than caring. People don’t care how much you know; they only want to know how much you care. And you can’t fake it. You can pretend you care, but you can’t pretend to show up. Genuinely respect and care for your clients, and they will look after you in return.
Unfortunately, there is a little bit more to the business than just caring. No matter what some people say, true success does not come easily. Like everything else in life, if you really want something, you’re going to have to work for it and put in the time and effort. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of hard work, and everyone who has gone into this business will tell you it is sometimes one of the toughest things they have ever done in life.
Learn to do the uncomfortable work first — the exact work you dread doing most is the work that has the most ability to change your life. How many Mondays have come and gone since you said, “I’ll start next week”? Take action and start today! A good friend of mine tells a story of three frogs on a log. One decides to jump off — how many are left? Still three. You have to take action; deciding to do something is never enough.
Dedication isn’t necessarily all about hard work. A lot of our jobs will probably involve staring at spreadsheets or policy details for many hours, so we must be dedicated enough to do it properly and not miss any of the details.