Just Work Harder – an Illusion

Just Work Harder – an Illusion

men working hard and overwhelmed and too busy

“I’ll just try harder” (by doing the same things that worked in the past but still seem reasonable.


A man said this to me this week. He’s in his 40s, and financially, he’s doing fine, but he is struggling with his career and overall fulfillment; he’s also feeling, as he described, “a little lost. I’m just not sure where to go or what to do next.”


As we talked further, he suddenly said as if he had an epiphany, “I know I just need to try harder. I need to get back to the hard work, put in more time, all the stuff that got me here.”


His sentiment isn’t unique, and I hear this from men often. And from a simplistic sense, that makes sense. Yeah, do more and work harder; that’s what past generations taught us about success. 


But look deeper at what he said, “all the stuff that got me here.” 




That mindset got you here, where you are now, lost, unfulfilled, and unsure of where to go next. That path led to this. If you retake that path, the same road will eventually take you to the same place. 


Strategies and techniques work until they don’t. They get us as far as possible, but we will find ourselves in the same spot if we don’t evolve, adjust, or transform our mindsets and actions.


Men, I know we have learned repeatedly to try harder, work harder, do more, and exhaust ourselves with more pushing and pulling to get results, and it does work; it gets results…until it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t, it’s not time to return to it; it’s time for a change. 


Sometimes, guys need to learn how to hustle, grind, work hard, and find some grit inside of them. These guys are too passive, scared, reserved, shy, and struggle with commitment, discipline, and work ethic, and they need a heavy dose of masculine grit and grind in their lives. 


And other guys, we’ve overdosed on the hard masculine grit and grind, and going this hard for this long has landed us stuck, confused, lost, unhappy, disconnected from others, and burned out. And it’s time to reevaluate our strategies and create a new approach.


When men work with men one-on-one or at The Alchemy of Men Retreat, I don’t tell them they need more hustle, commitment, or discipline. I also don’t tell them they need more love, creativity, play, joy, or relaxation. In working together, they find those answers. They discover their true north. They figure out what kind of man they want to be to create the life, relationships, and career they want. They also begin to cause the peace, fulfillment, and joy they want to experience. 


Nobody needs to tell you how you should live or should or shouldn’t be as a man, but sometimes it’s helpful to have another man or group of men supporting you in the journey and exploration. We never do anything significant alone; the power lies in the community. And it starts with taking responsibility for every aspect of your life, becoming a leader everywhere, and forging a community to have your back and call you on your bullshit. 


“Only that which will adapt itself can survive and flourish.”‘

-Richard Rudd


Join us at the next Alchemy of Men Leadership Retreat.

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