How to Align your Commitment with your Work Ethic

I was honored to speak twice this week at the American Red Cross Headquarters in Washington, DC. I am always humbled to be able to speak onstage. I take that responsibility very seriously. And having the opportunity to speak to an organization whose mission I align with, energizes me.

After I spoke at the first event, I was doing a book signing of my book, The Limitless Life. A young lady came up to me and asked me to sign her copy. After I signed her book, she confided in me that she was struggling to meet her goals and if I had any thoughts or strategies that may help her.

If you have heard me speak, one of the key takeaways I share is if you are a leader, you are EXPECTED to mentor someone. This goes back to that moment in May 1997 when my mentor made me promise him to not let what he taught me to “die with me.” I made it a “must” in my life that whenever someone ask me for help or advice, I would share my best distinctions.

We discussed what goal she is struggling with. She shared it was her one of the key KPI’s ( key performance indicator) she is evaluated on. It happened to be around fundraising. In corporate sales, I would call this “sales target.”

We discussed her current strategy on how she was going about attaining her fundraising target. What I discerned was there was a mismatch between her aspiration she had to attain her number and her effort. She has always been successful throughout her life and for the first time, getting her outcome is not coming as easy or naturally.

She is in a highly competitive field, fundraising, as there are thousands of organizations that are approaching corporate business for their philanthropy.

For many years, just mentioning you are from the American Red Cross would be the ticket into a conversation to a company. But today, with so many other philanthropic organizations, you have to have to be strategic in your fundraising approach to get an audience.

I asked her about her prospecting approach and she shared it and I quickly deduced that her strategy and the effort were at odds. Her commitment and work ethic don’t match the lofty goals she has.

Currently, my initial reaction was she is not putting in the effort required, which is insufficient for achieving her high attainment goal.

Over the past several years, when I speak with younger sales people, this situation comes up over and over. I was fortunate when I started in sales to learn that the effort you put in is in direct proportion to the outcome you will receive. Sometimes you get that lucky one or you are in the right place at the right time but in the long term, your commitment to reach your goals needs to match your work ethic.

What I have learned through the years with my mentors and experience is that this habit or behavior begins with the encouragement from parents, guardians or teachers, suggesting that they celebrate or agree with this insufficient effort.

At a young age, parents, guardians or teachers, instead of pushing for more dedication or telling their young child or student the gap they see between dreams and effort, their applause of “getting the trophy” might reinforce the belief that minimal effort is enough. What it is called is “aligning one’s work approach with their aspirations and a critique of misplaced encouragement.” And it doesn’t help individuals realistically pursue their goals or dreams.

I recommended to her to first look at how she approaches her business week. Does she spend time each day “prospecting and making the calls?” I shared with her the “OPA” ( outcome, purpose, action) strategy I learned from one of my mentors that helped me build the habit to do this daily. This strategy helped me stay consistent to make significant progress towards my sales ( and other) goals.

I asked her if she follows women’s college basketball. She said she did and I recommended to her to go to YouTube and watch how Kaitlin Clark put her dreams down, made the commitment as a very young girl and developed the work ethic ( that she still executes every day) to become one of the greatest college basketball players in history, women or men. And that is why she is a “must watch” phenomenon.

It’s not because of how she shoots or passes ( which are extraordinary), it’s about what people see is someone who aligned her dreams with her work ethic and they want their children to see the model of how to succeed at the highest level.

Not only athletics but in life.

I told her it’s not rocket science. As Tony Robbins taught me, and I now share in all my talks, if you want to get an outcome, find someone who has got the result you want, do EXACTLY, what they do and you too can get that result.

I recommended she find the top fundraiser at the Red Cross, call them, schedule a meeting and ask them what they did to become the top in their field. Ask that person to mentor her and watch what happens.

Lastly, I shared with her once she starts this process, she will develop her personal agency, “the ability to control her personal behaviors and reactions to circumstances beyond her control.” It’s what I and others did during the Miracle on the Hudson.

She thanked me for my time and I told her I would send the strategy I learned for having “personal agency.” When I got to the airport, I sent her this with a message to never hesitate to ask for help.

  1. Create conditions around you for success
  2. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with
  3. Manage your physiology and move
  4. Always be a learner
  5. Manage your mindset
  6. “Mind the Gap”-explore what’s missing, what’s not there, and what could be
  7. Take Massive Action

If you are in a gap between where you are at and a goal, be it a sales goal, business goal or personal goal, remember to align your commitment and work ethic, find someone who has achieved what you desire, model what they have done EXACTLY, have “personal agency” and

Embrace the uncertainty you are currently in as it will ignite the opportunity in front of you, setting you on your way to create your own flight plan and