Your effort at what you do for a living is everything.* You may be smarter, but you can be outworked by someone with less intelligence.

When you were young (and sometimes, to your detriment, when you were older…) your mother told you how smart you are. For many, by the time they become teenagers, it changes to “You’re smart and if you would just apply yourself you would get better grades.” Odds are your parents weren’t going to kick you out for not trying your hardest, but your boss might.

Or, instead, you won’t progress in your career.  For every person who progresses based on nepotism or something similar, there 99.9 times out of 100 who progress is based on the effort they put in and the results that effort achieves.

And don’t get me wrong, effort alone is not enough. Work isn’t youth sports where trophies are given for participating, not just winning (don’t get me started on this…).  Companies don’t hand out participation ribbons or trophies because you showed up at the office and went through the motions. Effort needs to lead to results.

But you don’t have a chance at good results if you don’t start with effort.

*Thanks to my wife who put this though into my head this morning during a conversation. If you need a fantastic recruiter to help you find talented employees or your dream job you should check out: This is a shameless plug for someone who puts in the effort and achieves results!