By Sean Gagnon, Special AFS Contributor

I have a confession to make. I’m on social media! I don’t mean that I post content on the various channels. Of course, I do that. If you are a business owner and you are not posting valuable content to serve your customers and grow your brand you are missing out! More on that another time. What I mean is I spend some time each day consuming content on social media! Instagram, Facebook, Linked In, etc. It doesn’t rule my time but sometimes I get sucked in just like everyone else.

Naturally, I have some profiles I follow which are of personal interest but the majority of the content I consume is around business and entrepreneurship. One of the trends I’ve seen in recent times is people posting about how hard they work! Some call it a “Hustle”. Some call it a “Grind”. Some have even put themselves on a team called “team no sleep”. Social media is notorious for hyperbole but no sleep? That doesn’t even make sense! Somehow people believe that telling us how hard they work is somehow indicative of their level of success.

Worse yet, they think it gives them a pass for failing! Let’s set the record straight on the success formula.

You’re Supposed to Work Hard

We’ve all heard that if you want to be successful you have to work hard. That’s no secret. The key, however, is to make sure you are working hard at the right things! It’s easy to be busy but it’s hard to be productive. Earlier this year I wrote an article about my 2019 Success Plan. It was 3 seemingly simple steps which I call Think, Plan, Execute (TPE). The premise is that you have to have an actual plan and go through your day with intent. If you don’t you will spend your time being busy but potentially on the wrong things.

As you go through the TPE framework you will start to see key areas of focus emerge. These are commonly called your priorities. It is mission critical to identify the most important things you need to work on in your business because if everything is important, nothing is!

Unfortunately what often happens in this step is that people see the priorities will take a lot of work - hard work - so they skip to something else. If you want to reach your goals identify the priorities that will get you there and work hard at them - nothing else. There is no badge of honor for working hard. You’re supposed to work hard at the right things. If not what are you doing? Posting about how hard you work is not hard work!

Time Doesn’t Equal Effort

As an entrepreneur for over 20 years, I’ve spent my time around some really successful business owners. I have friends who run 8 and 9 figure businesses which they have grown from the ground up. These are people who had an idea, took their shot and won - BIG. When I’m with them we talk about many things but the one thing that never comes up is how much they work. Successful people know that Time doesn’t equal Effort. They are not bragging about what time they wake up or go to sleep. No one ever talks about putting in the work on weekends or holidays. What they talk about is their maniacal focus on achieving the tasks that make them successful. They talk about the principles of success such as leadership, sales, culture, and values.

When someone starts to equate time with effort it’s a clear signal that they are off track and need their priorities re-aligned. Successful people know that effort is in the details. There are not big grand tasks that lead to success. There are tried and true principles and tasks that are repeated day in and day out which lead to success. Are you prospecting for new customers? Are you following up with people that have expressed interest? Are you servicing your current customer base with 100% focus and attention when they are in your facility? Are you spending time learning the latest trends and techniques? Are you spending time working ON the business to continue to systematize it and strengthen the culture? This is what successful people do. They put forth effort and never mention the time it takes because that just doesn’t matter! As I often say, success knows no calendar or clock.


Effort Doesn’t Equal Results

It’s about to get real. If you are sensitive or have a big ego hold on tight because here we go. There is ONE meaningful measure of your efforts and it is called WINNING. The harsh reality in business is that you are successful or you are not. No one cares how hard you work. No one cares how much effort you put in - or the right things or the wrong ones. They care if you WIN. They care if you’ve achieved your goals and hit the targets you’ve set which are indicative of success. If you don’t think that’s true try this out. On the first of the month when your rent is due, go to the landlord and tell her you don’t have the money but you tried hard! Next Friday when payroll is due, tell your team you can’t pay them but remind them that you wake up at 5am and you come in on Saturdays! No one cares.

Results are measured against a very clear set of targets for your business. Maybe it’s a revenue target. Maybe it’s the headcount in your classes. Maybe it’s the number of sessions that your team trained this week. Whatever your markers of success are, be super clear about them and report on them publicly. At The Abs Company, everyone knows what each person has to achieve each week, month, and quarter. Every week a report goes out showing exactly how we all performed! This level of accountability keeps us laser focussed on our goals and avoids talk of hard work and time! We have a core value which states We believe that hard work pays off and produces RESULTS that MATTER! They key phrase is RESULTS MATTER!

So as you head into your week, I encourage you to shift your focus. Stop thinking - or worse yet talking - about how hard you work or how much time you are putting in. If you spend your time around people who talk about this - find a new circle. If you are consuming content of people posting about this stuff, unfollow them. Put your focus on one thing - WINNING. When you do that, guess what? You’ll WIN!


Sean Gagnon is the founder and president of The Abs Company. He received his master’s degree in clinical physiology from the University of Florida.  For over 10 years his company has been focused on core-based functional training products for the commercial and consumer fitness markets. The Abs Company products can be found in over 10,000 facilities and millions of homes in over 40 countries worldwide. The company mission is "We Change Lives from the Core”. Sean and his team are proud to do just that every day!

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