A Tim McCarthy Column
“In 66 years I’ve learned that I can only do what I love to do if (and only if) I’m willing to also do the things least appealing to me.”
Here’s just a few of those things.
My first day in business I learned that all the work that needed to be done would never get done. And so within a few months, after tiring of seeing me run from pillar to post my first boss demanded that I learn to create a daily to-do list. First, we agreed on priorities at our weekly meetings then he oversaw my task lists until I got pretty good at it.
I hated doing lists; still do in fact. But I love reaching my goals more than I hate lists. And to this day, if I don’t write a daily list then check things off it, I get lost.
The first day of our oldest child came home from the hospital we realized our love affair with sleep was over. Alice and I thought that sleeplessness would last only through our three children’s early years but soon realized we would be sleep-deprived until they were all gone. Now we look back and see the three exceptional people they are becoming and can’t even remember the short nights.
On the first day of having my own business I realized the only person to do my administration and finance was me. I hated detail, always have and will. I fancy myself a “big picture” guy. But since there was no one else to do these things, I went to work learning finance and administration. I still do it and I still hate it. But I love that each year I seem to make good progress on the life I’ve chosen to live.
Jerry Rice was professional football’s greatest receiver of all time. Rice was once quoted as saying, “I do the things no one wants to do today so that I can do the things no one can do tomorrow”.
I speak to various groups about 50 times a year. They love hearing about leadership, strategy and the economics of successful businesses. They are generally far less interested when I get into simplicity, discipline, focus and doing the things you hate to do.
Generally, the “bad grades” I get on these presentations are from people hoping to “kill the messenger” and yet the bearer of bad tidings I will remain.
I refuse to say “do what you love to do and your life will unfold happily” without saying “to do what you love to do requires you must also do what you hate to do”. Whether the sacrifice you make is for a family goal, a personal one or your career or business, nothing good comes without a dear price.
And the dear price this (voluntarily) ADHD guy pays is to pay attention. I hate the discipline but I love the overall results.