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Doing the Hard Work

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We live in a shortcut culture.  The weight loss industry had a $60 billion year, with many of these diets offering quick fix solutions. In contrast, the fitness industry is a $22 billion a year business. We’re entering the holiday season to be followed by new year’s resolutions that list losing weight and getting fit at the very top. Despite our good intentions, most of these resolutions won’t make it into February. Why? Well, most people are looking for the shortcut and aren’t willing to put in the effort. Let’s face it. Losing weight is hard. Getting fit is even harder. There’s no magic bullet. Just hard work.

I’m finding a similar attitude toward work, mostly among Millennials who some call the entitled generation.

I have a friend who is 24 and fits the bill. She’s beautiful and bright and until now, has had everything handed to her, often by the (successful) men she’s dated. Because we’re friends with a big age difference, I wanted to believe that she was different.  That she meant it when she discussed her ambition and asked for career advice. So I shared that when I was her age I already completed graduate school and had a great job running a division of a hotel company. Lots of responsibility, long hours and constant (not always glamorous) travel came with tremendous job satisfaction and the knowledge that I was making a difference. But I was wrong about my (soon to be ex) friend. She wants the title and the prestige, but doesn’t want to put in the time and effort.  Good luck with that.

I’m happy to report that not all Millennials I meet are looking for an easy ride to the top. A few years back, I was a keynote speaker at a conference and noticed a young woman in the front row. She was 25 at the time and told me how no one took her seriously because she was young and female in a male dominated industry. I had a horrible flu so I can’t remember what advice I gave her beyond: just be yourself and do the hard work. Prove them wrong. And she did.  Today, she is a bona fide influencer with a major social media presence and is awaiting publication of her first book. She didn’t sit around waiting for things to happen or be handed to her – she went for it.

Americans are obsessed with overnight successes – especially in Hollywood and tech – but the reality is that there’s no such thing.  There’s a lot of hard work behind the lucky break. And Millennials will figure it out like the rest of us.

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