I know I should wake early. I know I should exercise every day. I also know exactly what I ought to be doing to build client relationships and to manage my projects effectively. But I don’t always do those things, probably to the detriment of my career success.
Brian Tracy, one of the foremost sales personalities in the world, wrote:
“There is one special quality that you can develop that will guarantee you greater success … than anything else … the quality of self discipline.”
Looks like I’ve got my work cut out.
Brian is speaking generally, but when we study effective salespeople, we consistently find a strong correlation between success and discipline. Top performers tend to start their days earlier than others. They are structured and consistent in their prospecting, preparation, relationship management and follow-ups.
Sales directors know this intuitively, but even those organizations that have explicitly identified the importance of self-discipline have tended to bracket it as a hiring challenge. They believe discipline can’t be taught, so they focus on finding disciplined hires, such as ex-military personnel or former athletes. But many organizations aren’t full of highly disciplined machines.
Before athletes became athletes, before former military personnel went to the military, they had to learn discipline. The science of behavior change and mobile technologies are now colliding to enable the rest of us to get there. Tools like the Fitbit are enabling millions of people to become more disciplined about their daily exercise. Looking at my three-month daily average of 10,033 steps, it’s already helped me change my behavior.
In a few years, expect to see Fitbits for professionals. It might not sit in your pocket or on your wrist, but I expect that discipline assistance will become much more widespread. What do you think?