Hard Work...

...isn't enough anymore. I've worked really hard this year.  Probably harder than I have ever worked in one year.  But as I look back on 2008, I realize that very little that I did this year will matter all that much for my career next year. I've made a ton of progress for myself, my team and my company in 2008 but I've gotta do it all over again in 2009.

The fact is that it's always only a matter of time before what we're doing today is outsourced, automated or assigned to someone who'll do it for less money than we're being paid now. That's progress.  And the global economy only speeds up the process of progress. In the 50's, we could think about this reality once a decade. Now we have to think about it once a quarter. To stay ahead and grow, a knowledge worker has to continuously innovate and add irreplaceable value.

This reminds me of an African proverb I read somewhere; just found it online:

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.

It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.

Every morning a lion wakes up.

It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.

It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.