The true meaning of the words “hard work” has consumed my thoughts lately. While I am a grateful FTE (full-time employee), I am now diving deeper into my life’s passion of 100% financial freedom and helping others in the area of financial empowerment.

This blog is an extension of that passion and there are several other endeavors, however I will admit that there are days that I can’t get it all done and I feel that it is too much, all at one time. For all of the things that I want to do–all the dreams that I have–there is not enough of me to go around.

Yet when passion calls, you better answer to prevent a life of the wouldas, couldas, and shouldas.

My desire to balance all of this has forced me to address the question,

“How hard do you work for what you say you want?”

Hard Work: What Does It Mean?

The theme hard work has replayed in my mind over and over again.

First, as I recently watched a television show, the narrator was attributing her strong work ethic to her mother. She described how she grew up watching her mom work hard on two jobs for as long as she could remember. Those words rung in my ear–two jobs. Other than a brief stint in college, I have never worked two jobs, not at least at the same time.

Then this past Saturday while driving around town, I noticed two women cleaning and detailing a huge truck in a vacant parking lot. Now there were several street-prenuers basically hustling in this lot but these two women caught my eye. They were working hard–cleaning the tires, wiping down the windows and the interior and doing their best to provide a great service to the owner of this truck.

As I watched them I wondered what motivated them to work so hard, outside in 90-degree June weather on a Saturday, a day designated for leisure. Were they cleaning cars because they had to make ends meet or were they wanting to accomplish some other aspiration? The short-term goal may have looked like only $55 for a singular detailing service but was the long-term goal a 100% woman-owned car detailing franchise?!

At last this Sunday’s morning sermon kicked off with a lesson on animals, Biblical Zoology. My Pastor structured his sermon around the wisdom of 4 small and seemingly insignificant creatures listed in Proverbs–the ant, the rock badger, the locust and the lizard. The ant peaked my interest the most as I know well how scripture celebrates the wisdom of ants. My Pastor explained that ants work hard for 3 months which provides their food for 9 months and that they carry on their backs objects much greater than their natural weight. Often times, it’s the equivalent of a human carrying a diesel locomotive!

Wow, hard work. When God wants to get a message to you, He gets a message to you!

There a few things that I have to admit from this life lesson of hard work.

Grown-Up Talk

First I admit to myself that the future that I want will not come easy nor will it be laid out on a silver platter. It won’t be handed to me as I watch tv and fantasize the not-so-real life portrayed on reality shows.

Perhaps I (and maybe you too) need to redefine hard work. Maybe it’s not going to bed at 11PM and waking up at 7AM.

Maybe hard work is found from 7PM to midnight and on the weekends–writing the business plan, doing the research and gathering the facts of the matter.

Maybe hard work is bypassing the low-hanging fruit for the fruit at the top of the tree which takes more focus and direction to reach.

Maybe it’s found cutting off the cable, destroying the credit cards (of which I have none) and going on a spending freeze so that there will be an emergency fund the next time there is an emergency. Maybe it’s not in paying for reward points on credit cards that take forever to accumulate but are never redeemed.

I now know that this part of my journey will take hard work. It will require sacrifice, diligence and dedication, not like before but in a more profound way. I already believe that with God all things are possible, which means that they can happen but the hard work is up to me.

So I will pursue my life’s passion. How about you…what are you ready to work hard for?