“Work” is not a dirty word.

In Mindy Kaling’s new book, Why Not Me?, she talks about earning confidence and even a feeling of “entitlement” (yeah, I deserve this!) through hard work.

Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, youd better make sure you deserve it. So, how did I make sure that I deserved it?

…she asks in her book.

The answer is, you guessed it:

Hard work.

Lots of it.

Work is not a dirty word

Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled, she says.

I practically pounded my book with a thunderous roar of applause. Preach, Mindy!

This got me thinking about this notion that “work” is bad, and that somehow, by diminishing our working hours and outsourcing everything, we’re supposed to create these rich happy lives with wildly successful businesses.

Here’s the thing:

I value pleasure, fun, and frivolity immensely.

I do not believe in grinding yourself to the bone doing work that you loathe in exchange for a fistful of dollars.

I repeatedly emphasize that work can feel like a “guilty pleasure” if you’ve got the right attitude.

I constantly remind my clients that working from a positive, enthusiastic place —not a stressed, miserable place —usually leads to a much higher quality of work.

Let me set the record straight.

While I fervently preach the importance of pleasure…

I am someone who has WORKED to get where I am today.

I worked 50+ hours a week to put myself through college. I worked for nearly 5 years in the trenches on huge advertising and marketing campaigns before even thinking about starting my own business.

And now? I’ve been at it on my own for 10 years. And the past decade was not easy. It was filled with lots of testing + trying + tweaking + failing + crying + wanting to give up —many, many times.

As I was building my business, I remember seeing lots of “instant success” and “get rich quick” messages. “Programs” I could buy. Supposed “short cuts” I could take.

None of these invitations appealed to me because I have always identified myself as someone who “works.” Not because I believe that everything in life has to be “hard,” but because the people I admire are people who clearly did the WORK.

Serena Williams did not become a tennis champion by eating bon-bons or by reading “10 easy ways to win Wimbledon.” She WORKED.

Shonda Rhimes didn’t go from zero to award-winning TV show creator in “six easy weeks.” She worked her way up the ranks for years writing screenplays she didn’t particularly want to be writing, like Crossroads starring Britney Spears. For real.

Gary Vaynerchuk worked for nearly a decade building his wine business before sharing any advice on marketing.

Ronda Rousey didn’t become the undefeated UFC Bantamweight Champ or earn an Olympic medal in Judo by gaming the system or find quick cheats. She busts her ass training her body to the extreme —day in and day out.

Amy Schumer did stand-up comedy for super small crowds for years —earning maybe one laugh a night —while she perfected her set. Then she landed on Last Comic Standing, only to lose in fourth place. A number of years later, she’s at the top of her game.After doing the WORK.

You have chosen to write, blog, or run a business because you know you can impact so many people. You have a gift and you truly want to get it out in the world.

Me too.

And I can tell you that if I stopped doing the work—if I hunted for “short cuts” along the way — I never would have built a business that impacts people in the way that I do, today.

I never would be able to help my clients the way I can without experiencing the highs and lows and going through the motions, all these years.

I never would have sharpened my skills —like writing or strategizing or connecting.

I never would know what it feels like to win if I didn’t work and fail.

I get it. Those people who claim to have instantly found massive success or that have the magic secret to all your riches…. are sexy. Not having to work…sounds cool, in theory.

But if you’re looking to do big things and impact people (which I’m betting you are) you have to do the work.

And the thing is, “pleasure” and “hard work” CAN co-exist at the same time.

Even if you’re burning the midnight oil, on occasion, putting the finishing touches on a new project because you care SO DEEPLY about impacting people’s lives and you’re really tired, kinda cranky, but SO turned on by your work and you really want to do this thing right…that’s hard work, that’s big work, but it can be joyful in its own way, too.

Discovering what you are truly capable of creating —when you apply your whole heart, which is really, really, really hard and scary to do —might be the ultimate “pleasure.”

So the next time you feel called to sign up for something that promises you massive success, riches, or happiness with zero work involved, take a pause.

What are you losingby not doing the work?