Anyone can have thoughts and come up with ideas. They are both free and plentiful. How do I know? How many notebooks, file folders, WORD documents, Evernote folders, and OneNote files are crammed with ideas, “good” ideas? And what are these ideas doing? They are sitting in digital or analog files. Just sitting, that’s all.

Work Matters

The only thing that turns those “good ideas” into something useful, productive or profitable is… work. Typically, hard work. You know… the sweat and fret, time and effort, agony and sacrifice kind of work. One of my intellectual heroes, Peter Drucker said, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”

Good to Great

Good work is, well, good. It pays the bills. We know how to do it. It is regular and fairly predictable. It keeps most customers satisfied. It’s not mind-shrinking monotony or banal tasks that create little or no value and suck the life out of you (that’s bad work!). We don’t make many mistakes doing good work. It’s efficient and focused. It’s how we get most things done.

What about great work? That’s different. It has meaning. It leaves a mark. It stretches you. You don’t count “hours per week worked” when you’re doing it. It’s engaging and frequently inspiring. It is rarely “daily work”. It has risks. It’s associated with fear, uncertainty and doubt. We are driven to do it and driven by it. It can burn you out.


Burnout? Yes, sometimes. But it’s good burnout instead of the smoldering, mind-numbing, time-wasting, non-productive, ultimate-boredom kind of burnout; but burnout all the same.

So as we enter a new year and a new decade let’s try this: avoid bad work. Do good work always. Do great work whenever you get the opportunity.

How’s that for a great idea? I’m working on it! How about you?

In Other Words…

“If you trust in yourself… and believe in your dreams… and follow your star… you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.” ― Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” ― Thomas A. Edison

“No man needs sympathy because he has to work, because he has a burden to carry. Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

In the Word…

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” – Colossians 3:23