Most people have heard the phrase that hard work will eventually pay off. However, what exactly does it mean to work hard? For some, it may literally mean spending hours each day performing manual labor. For others, working hard may be more about the time and effort put toward reaching his or her goals. Here is what it means to me and what it could mean for you too.

Success Means Finding the Time to Succeed

The difference between someone who succeeds and someone who fails in a business endeavor is relatively small. In most cases, the person who succeeds doesn’t fret about staying up all night to get a project done or spending a few more minutes away from a family gathering to learn more about new technology. A successful person may also be willing to carve time out of his or her schedule to go to conferences or watch YouTube videos created by people who they admire. Not only that, but the amount of time that they have is equal to the amount that they have to live. Therefore, their pursuit of success has to be their life.

Sacrifice and Risk

To succeed, you have to be willing to sacrifice everything—especially that time that was covered in the section above. A lot of us like to use our time for things that really have very little worth—such as Netflix or pursuing our hobbies. Yet, to succeed, we have to be willing to give up the time that we would normally dedicate to those things. Another thing that we might have to sacrifice is our own livelihood. A great example of this is Tracy Rawle who sold his restaurants to move away and take a risk at starting an entirely different type of business, which ended up being a great success. If we truly want to get anywhere, then it’s definitely going to take a whole lot of sacrifice and risk.

Making Success an Obsession

Working hard may mean obsessing over whatever it is that you’re going for—a new promotion at work, a weight loss goal, or just a new standard of who you are. As part of your obsession, all of your goals should be geared towards the object that will define your success. The focus of your life should be set towards that path. For example, you can’t set GPS for Florida when you’re trying to get to California. You can’t head north when you’re trying to get south. No, everything has to be focused. If you want a promotion, then set goals that will get you there—such as taking advantage of continuing education opportunities or heading projects that will make an influence at your workplace.

Evolution Never Stops

No matter how successful you are at the moment, there is always someone who is willing to take your spot at the top. This is not just in the business world. There will always be someone who is better than you at something and it is your job to muster up some competitiveness and defy that challenge. If there is someone that you know who lost 10 pounds in six months, make it your goal to lose 15. If someone at work just went 10 percent over their quota, make sure that you go 15 percent over yours. Never let yourself settle for being second best. When someone comes across your path that can do something that you can’t do or what you can do but better, take note and make it a challenge.

Never Be Happy Where You Are

Note, I didn’t say “Never be happy with who you are”. You should definitely be please with who you are and how far you have come, but you should never be ready to settle. No matter how much success you have achieved, keep going and keep making goals. By staying hungry, it allows you to take advantage of opportunities that others may not see. Later on when people ask you how you’ve gotten to your point of success, you’ll be able to say “I’m not there yet, because I’m not stopping.”

Hopefully, the above sections have helped you understand what working hard is and how success is achieved. Just remember, though, that success can’t be defined by anyone but yourself and what you want to measure yourself up to.