Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

The Hardest Workers Always Get Rewarded. By “Rewarded” I Mean Both Financially and in Terms of Responsibility

Photo by Burak K on Pexels

The hardest workers always get rewarded. By “rewarded” I mean both financially and in terms of responsibility. Those were Elaine’s opening words at her university’s annual alumni day. But let’s hear Elaine’s full address to understand her story:

A Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You Case Study:

Elaine’s Alumni Address:

The hardest workers always get rewarded. By “rewarded” I mean both financially and in terms of responsibility.

Sage Wisdom

Tim Cook said: “There is a saying that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. The truth is, you will work harder than you ever thought possible, but the tools will feel light in your hands. He added something equally powerful: There’s nothing more beautiful than trying.”

As you prepare to go out into the world, wherever your WorkLife takes you you’ll want to stand out, you’ll want to be recognised, and you’ll want to be rewarded. But how do you achieve that? The answer to that question came to me through the superpower of:

Book Wisdom

I learnt lessons and drew inspiration from Setting the Table by Danny Meyer. It’s essential reading, not just for people in the restaurant business, but for people in any business, people who want to play an integral role in integrating the success of a business and the success of its community.

In the book, Meyer asks: “To imagine if every business was a lightbulb and that for each lightbulb the primary goal was to attract the most moths possible. Now, what if you learned that 49 percent of the reason moths were attracted to a bulb was for the quality of its light (brightness being the task of the bulb) and that 51 percent of the attraction was to the warmth projected by the bulb (heat being connected with the feeling of the bulb).” He said: “It’s remarkable how many businesses shine brightly when it comes to acing the tasks but emanate all the warmth of a cool fluorescent light.” He went on to say: “That explains how a flawless four-star restaurant can actually attract far fewer loyal fans than a two- or three-star place with soul.”

Like Meyer, in my WorkLife, I wanted to be a hundred-watt lightbulb, whose work is the sum of 51 percent feeling and 49 percent task.

I learnt that hospitality is present when something happens for you. It’s absent when something happens to you. These simple concepts — for and to — express it all.

I learnt to err on the side of generosity: You get more by first giving more.

This wisdom allowed me to know what I needed to do in order to stand out: I needed to work hard to be the best I could be; I needed to commit myself fully to always go the extra mile; I needed to pay attention over and above the task, to what was going on around me, to the people, the situation, in order to notice what else I could do that would allow me to go that extra mile.

I also knew I wanted and needed to be in this for the long-haul. As a graphic designer straight out of university, I had so much to learn, and because of that, I knew I needed to work with and for people I admired, people I could learn from. I knew I couldn’t compromise by taking something less than my ideal job, I knew I couldn’t settle for a place where I wouldn’t accomplish anything. I wanted and needed to make an impact with my work, to stand out for reasons that gave me a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. To be so good they couldn’t ignore me.

I encourage you to do the same. Do work that makes a contribution, work that gives you a sense of purpose, passion and pride. Work with collaborators who respect you, this is very important. You most likely won’t make a lot of money straightaway, but if you work with people you think are great, and you actually learn from them, that will be more valuable than immediate financial reward. But that will come too, along with greater rewards in terms of responsibility as you travel down the road of your WorkLife.

The principle of working hard is an old-fashioned principle, a principle that has stood the test of time. It’s a principle that you can all live your WorkLives by. It’s a principle that leads to many rewards. It’s a simple principle: the harder you work, the better you’ll become. The greatest reward: You’ll be so good they can’t ignore you.

Words of Wisdom

Why do I do this every day? This is a question I regularly reflect upon. Through self-feedback, the answers I’ve received include: it’s helping me achieve a goal that’s important to me; it’s helping me create freedom, independence, confidence and security. All good things to help me create the WorkLife I want. It’s about getting rewarded both financially and in terms of responsibility, it’s about what that allows me to do, who that allows me to become, how that allows me to serve others, and how through that I can achieve my dreams.

That’s a value that I try to live out every day. I encourage you to do the same, by following this simple practice of asking yourself: Why do I do this every day? Then take time through self-feedback to reflect by way of understanding how it can help you achieve your dreams to live the WorkLife you want.

I can’t wait to start work every day, and I hope all of you will get the same type of pleasure and reward out of what you choose to do.

Thank you.


Elaine’s grounded approach while following her bright star to live her WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride has led to her giving motivational talks at her university, her workplace and at events within her industry.

Today’s featured book is: Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You … are people’s stories of how they carved out a WorkLife that was rewarding, fulfilling and meaningful, how they worked with people they admired, how they contributed in ways that was valuable, and how their WorkLife allowed them to make a difference in a way that had a positive impact.WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.

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