The Old Fashion Way To Success In Life!

19 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Successful

I love this article…I could not have said it better….Happy Valentine’s Day….Lee


You have to do the hard things.

  • You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
  • You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
  • You have to give more than you get in return right away.
  • You have to care more about others than they care about you.
  • You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
  • You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
  • You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
  • You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  • You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”
  • You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
  • You have to try and fail and try again.
  • You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
  • You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  • You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  • You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  • You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

You have to do the hard things. The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.

Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.

The hard things are the easiest things to avoid. To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.

The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.

Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.


If you are not doing hard things every week then you are not doing the right things. It is hard to have a conversation about performance.  It is hard to run or walk 5-10 miles. It is hard to put you head down and work on a project until it is done and done right. It is hard to not give in to peer pressure. It is hard to stay cool and calm under pressure. Have a hard week. It will build your self esteem and self confidence to get some hard things accomplished…Lee

  1. Outstanding post Lee, I’ve shared this publicly on Facebook, and privately with my direct reports. This is timely (when isn’t it really) for my team as we come into budget crunch time, and have to make difficult decisions and take some risks. Thank you!

  2. Lee,

    All 19 points are spot on! As one of my mentors told me once, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Making the difficult choices is what separates the leaders from the followers.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Armand Girard

  3. Lee, loved the post on the 19 hard things to do. I feel like I’m getting a bit too comfortable, so all good reminders. I will be in Memphis at FedEx’s P2L training and look forward to hearing you speak later this week. I also worked for the Marriott, great company, fantastic first job out of college. Jen DiManno

  4. Great ideas!!! Very inspiring and made me think me of a statement I also saw on your website here “The only place you will find success before work is in the dictionary”. Thanks again for the opportunity of your site!!! – Kevin

  5. Such a valuable post, Lee. Thank you. These *are* hard (some more so than others, depending on the person), but you’re absolutely right. As I’ve also heard, “successful people are those who do things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do.”

  6. Gotta admit the one that took me the longest to figure out is “You have to care more about others than they care about you.” The take off on this is that you have to care more about others success than they care about their success.

    Great posts Lee!

  7. Great article and thoughts!

    It reminds me of what the philosopher Friedrich Nietzche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” We must confront those things that are difficult in life as we learn and grow from our struggles.

  8. I find that one of the toughest things to get students to do is try again after they have previously failed at something. Whether it is in the classroom, or on the athletic fields, once students have failed, they lose all hope of success. This is the barrier we work so hard to break. It is a great feeling when you crack this barrier down for a student and see them gain the confidence they need not only to be successful in the classroom, or on the athletic fields, but also in life. Unfortunately, too often, the vicious cycle of failure perpetuates throughout the students life.

  9. You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you! I love this line out of your 19. I am a firm believer that you have to set goals for yourself and always be ready for your next step or promotion, because you never know when the opportunity will present itself.

  10. I could find personal experiences that fit each point and also how I felt when I moved beyond my own personal shortcomings. And as a teacher, you have to be prepared to give more than you get in return. At least in the short run.
    I use the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” with students who are struggling with something they feel is beyond them. There is a lot of strength in that short saying.

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