It was quite a revelation.
My 9-year-old son was doing his chores without being asked twice. What is more, he was not barraging his parents with cries of suffering and excuses as he moved from cleaning his room to picking up dog waste in the yard.
Somewhat stunned by his new ethic – and ever-eager to provide feedback when he is demonstrating our family values – I said, “I appreciate how you’ve completed your chores after being asked to do so only once.”
With the straw to his lemonade parked in his mouth, he mumbled, “You’re welcome.”
Curious, I could not help myself. “What was different this time?” I asked. “Why were you so focused?”
His answer did not take long: “The best way to get out of doing what you don’t want to do is to just do it.”
I smiled. Child, I thought, as you master that wisdom, you will experience grand wonders in life.
When we published Do Big Things five years ago, I did not anticipate the outpouring of stories from every-day people on teams doing extraordinary things. Hearing from teams rebounding after product recalls to stories of organizations leap-frogging competitors, I have had my own revelation.
Often the only quality that separates those who succeed in doing big things compared to those who do not is this: They do the difficult work sooner than others. They make the hard decisions, take the tough actions, and sacrifice early…so they can do more of what they want to do later.
What difficult task have you been putting off – that upon completing may prove to be a portal to an experience far more grand?