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Hard Work Never Killed Anyone – by Jo Haigh

Jo Haigh

Jo Haigh

So goes the saying, but you would think it might do if you looked around you sometimes.

Stamina and energy are great dividers amongst those that have it in abundance and those that don’t. My first boss once told me it was the ability to keep going when all around you were failing that gives you an advantage, and I have certainly found that to be so.

It’s also true, in my experience, that sadly hard work and effort are not always rewarded, for a number of reasons, some outside the control of the worker in question. I would have to say that has never stopped me, though ultimately I see the only way to get real reward is to ‘do a Frank Sinatra’ aka ‘my way’.

For the foreseeable future we are all going to have to work a lot harder. Not just physically, in terms of having to do your own job and someone else’s who is no longer in their post perhaps, but mentally as all our senses, intuition and mental agility will be required to be working at optimum levels to get us successfully through the next few years in anything like a healthy state.

For some, this requirement to rise to the challenge will be a small step. For others I suspect, either through a lack of understanding of the impact of not working at such levels consistently, or frankly an inability to sustain that amount of stamina, will mean their business will be another casualty added to the frightening statistic of 50,000+ companies expected to fall in 2010.

In my experience some people are blessed with enduring stamina, others have to train themselves to get into this mode. For the latter my tips include:

  • get plenty of sleep, even a power nap helps;
  • ask for help. Friends, family, colleagues, it’s the ‘all hands to the deck’ routine;
  • prioritise and plan. You know the adage – ‘fail to plan then plan to fail’;
  • do all the things you don’t want to do first and reward yourself on a job well done;
  • take a break from the work, even if its just an afternoon at least every 10 days. Switch off the phone and blackberry and recharge your batteries, whatever way works for you; and
  • as Winston Churchill said ‘never, never, never give up’.

Jo Haigh

Jo Haigh is a Partner and Head of Corporate Finance for Corporate Finance Services LLP, with bases in London, Birmingham and Yorkshire, and a partner in the fds Group, a specialist training and development business. More >>
As part of the Academy for Chief Executives Community, professional speakers such as Jo provide excellent, practical and, in many cases, hard-hitting topics for MDs and CEOs. They know that by inspiring the leader of a business to change their thinking and to help them formulate an individual plan for the future, leaders develop themselves and grow their companies.  Find out more on

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