Getting Back on the Horse

In The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, I wrote about Me Management, or what some would call self-discipline or habits. The acquisition editor from the first publishing company read the book and asked me why I would start a sales book with discipline, noting that everyone hates self-discipline. I argued that my observation of successful salespeople—and successful people more generally—were disciplined about the most critical factors that lead to success.

Willing oneself to do the work necessary to succeed is one of the primary differences of the successful, an unwillingness being a large part of lack of success.

Disciplines are not easy to keep, as anyone who has ever tried to keep a disciplined nutrition or exercise program will attest. You can just easily struggle with disciplines like avoiding your email first thing in the morning, reviewing your prior week and planning the next week on Sunday, or spending time on your most important projects or initiatives every day. Whatever the discipline you need to keep, it’s easy to fall off the horse—or to be thrown off by some unanticipated or unexpected event.

  • Falling Off is Not Failing: Maybe the most important belief about disciplines is that falling off is not failure, and framing it that way may increase your desire to give up the discipline—which might be giving up on the future self you are building. Falling off the horse is an event and a very human one at that. Disciplines worth keeping aren’t always easy to build.
  • Don’t Postpone Starting Over: There is no reason to postpone starting over. You don’t need to wait for the calendar to change. Tomorrow is not better than today and later isn’t better than right now. Keeping your discipline five days out of seven is better than keeping it three days out of seven. Just start again.

If disciplines were easy to keep, everyone would keep them, and everyone would enjoy the rewards of having done so. Once you lose the discipline, it’s easy to give up altogether. If some result is important enough for you to keep a discipline, the best thing you can do is to get back on the horse.

Filed under: Discipline

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