If you’ve never read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People you need to do it. Covey talks early in the book about setting yourself up for “private victories.” That means you have to keep all of the disciplines that make you worth doing business with in the first place. You need to keep the commitments you make to yourself, first, and always.
If you say to yourself, “I’m going to prospect everyday for an hour,” do you keep that commitment? Because if you don’t keep the commitments to yourself, you are missing the fundamental discipline of all people who are successful in every human endeavor. The ability to get yourself to take action even though the reward may come in the future, possibly the distant future, is the one discipline that success requires.
In order to maintain the discipline required for the success you want, you need to understand the difference between discipline and goals. A discipline is something that you do religiously, and you keep this practice because it’s something you want to do forever. It may or may not be attached to a goal, but even if it has no goal you are going to continue to do it.
Some people exercise everyday. They aren’t doing it because they’re going to run a marathon. They do it because they want to maintain their good health. They aren’t willing to make concessions about exercise. It is a discipline.
In sales, some people make prospecting a discipline. They make prospecting calls every day. They block off one hour and dial 15 numbers every single day. They don’t have a goal as in, “I’m going to make 100 cold calls,” because when they made 100 cold calls they’d be finished. A discipline is something you do forever and ever with no reason to stop.
A goal is different. It has a beginning and an end. For instance, if you’re training for a marathon you do it religiously until that marathon is run. Afterwards, there is no reason to train anymore. Perhaps you create a new goal, like running a triathlon, which you will train for until that goal is met. Unlike having a goal, a discipline is not focused on achieving one thing; its entire point is that it exists in perpetuity.
Having personal discipline is more difficult in this technology driven world we inhabit. We have become trained to like instant gratification. We are accustomed to immediate access to everything. We are accustomed to wanting and receiving, and have a much more difficult time with the concept of working and waiting. The truth is that all truly successful people know is that success is never instant, and discipline never ends.
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