I got into a rather heated argument with my coach a few weeks ago. We were talking about working hard and she said it sounded like I was in struggle with this and actually looking for more ease.

This came after my telling her about one of my favorite posts I have written for this blog, one that I quote to myself on a regular basis, “Magic Wand for Entrepreneurs.” In that post, I say one of the keys to not getting stuck is when you don’t know something, or when whatever you have to do seems scary or over your head, just say to yourself: It’s not that freaking hard.

I actually find this very freeing and empowering. I insert a different expletive and start searching online for whatever I need to know. Usually, finding a solution is not as difficult as I imagined.

However, my coach thought this language was aggressive and it didn’t work for her at all. This launched us into a discussion about working hard.

In the entrepreneur ecosystem, there is the concept of “hustle” and doing the hard work over the long term. This can seem aggressive to me. So many experts say you have to grind it out (blah blah)….

I know some people who find this super motivating, but I find myself wondering if some entrepreneurs are just trying to get a merit badge for busyness, which I think is BS. (See “Busyness Is Not the Right Metric.”)

So, I made up a term that more accurately describes this than working hard – efforting.

Efforting is making yourself do something you kind of hate. Efforting is drudgery. Efforting is being out of your genius zone.

Now, there are some times when efforting is called for and necessary. But let’s contrast this with working hard in a good way.

I think working hard in the right way is the goal. You can work really hard for a long time, be in flow state, and finish whatever you were working on feeling satisfied and exhausted (in a good way). Maybe time flew by. Maybe you tapped into your creativity. Maybe the ideas flowed. Who would say that’s a bad thing?

As entrepreneurs, I believe this is our fuel. This is the thrill of bringing a product or service to market, or doing a successful launch. We live for this!

Tony Robbins always says that progress equals happiness. I think that’s exactly right. As entrepreneurs, we can work ourselves into a serious funk when things don’t happen as fast as we would like, which unfortunately is frequently the case.

However, taking small steps forward every day can help keep you out of a funk and give you a sense of purpose.

Rob Bell says the work is the gift and the outcome is the frosting. I love this concept as well.

So, here is my suggestion: Try to keep working hard and try to avoid efforting.

Does this make sense to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please tag me on LinkedIn or Twitter.