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Every Job Has "Washing Dishes"

Ryan is not happy to wash the dishes!

I have a funny quirk. I don’t like to get my hands dirty! Don’t get me wrong, I like working hard and I don’t mind getting dirty in a general sense, but that initial moment when I need to stick my hands in the dirt or goo, I don’t want to do it. I even have a physical aversion to it. 

This was my main problem when I got one of my first jobs. I worked at a quick-service Italian restaurant. I mostly worked as a cashier, but I also had to wash the dishes. Not only was there red and white sauce all over the dishes, but I also had to put my hands on them and in the dirty water to clean them. I hated that part of the job! The food was good, and the rest of the job was chill, but washing dishes was the worst. 

Later when I was in college, I started selling Cutco, and I loved it. I loved demonstrating the product and asking for the sale. I especially loved it when people would buy. It was thrilling. I also loved representing a product that I could get behind. The only problem was, I hated phone time. To get the appointments I loved so much, I had to get on the phone and call prospects. If I didn’t make phone calls, I wouldn't have appointments.

In my efforts to motivate myself, I was frequently reminded of washing the dishes at that pasta restaurant. I often used this example when training salespeople. Especially when I saw that a rep had a similar aversion to phone time. I would tell them that every job comes with dishes to wash. I can look back on all of my jobs, and I realize that every job has its version of washing the dishes.

As a business owner, I have had plenty of washing the dishes in business. There are quite a few, actually. Things I hate but that are necessary for our business to succeed. I am sure you have some in your business as well. Whether it is washing dishes or making phone calls, you are likely thinking of your least favorite activities as you read this. 

There are two things I have grown to understand through my career which have given me  wisdom through experience: 

  1. Just dive in and get those hands dirty. I know you don’t want to, but you know you need to do so just get going on it. Once you are in, you will notice it gets easier. When I did door-to-door sales, the hardest door to get through was my car door. I would sit in my car and think about starting and absolutely torture myself with thoughts of what might happen. Then I would get started and viola, I would have fun, make sales and make money. Just get started and soon you’ll be done. 

  2. Be a tough boss. When you act as a tough boss to yourself, you take care of whatever it is you hate, along with what you love, and you can find great success. This is literally the answer to finding success. Do what it takes. Hold yourself accountable.

I remember a high school coach of mine saying, “Everybody loves the easy coach in practice and hates the tough coach, but everybody loves the tough coach when they are winning.” I have taken that to heart when managing myself. I do the hard stuff, I do the stuff I hate, and I make myself do what is necessary. If I am struggling to get something done, I schedule it and my tough boss (myself) makes me show up for it. 

Whatever this article made you think of in your business, I want you to commit right now to be the tough boss who gets it done. Put it in the schedule. Make it happen. Be where you are supposed to be. Do what you are supposed to be doing when you are supposed to be doing it. 

This concept of washing the dishes in your business is one of the keys to success in life. Every job has washing dishes, so if you want to keep your job, then you better get your hands dirty.

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Out of all the household jobs, doing the dishes is the one like the least. However, I get what your saying, too often we live our lives waiting for an invitation or the perfect moment. The power of diving right in and getting the job done is often the essential element most people lack in the journey of success. Also, on a side note... Great photo!


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