This blog is primarily for merchant services sales reps, but every so often I like to share a thought that is more philosophical that has helped me. I know exactly what it is like to struggle in the field and then come home at 2 in the afternoon because you just can’t seem to “Make” yourself stay out any longer. Maintaining personal discipline as an independent sales rep is difficult and indeed some find it nearly impossible! I still have a very long way to go in building the type of personal discipline I want to have, but allow me to share a couple tips that may surprise you about building discipline.
Tip #1 – Embrace reality in all but a few areas at a time. When a sales person tells me that they are going to change their whole life and do a complete 180 degree turn around, I wish them the best and pray that they are able to pull off this transformation. The harsh reality though is that this strategy rarely works. The best way to develop personal discipline is to accept and embrace the reality of your flaws and weaknesses in all but a couple areas, and then work only on those chosen areas until you have developed strong, positive habits. Then you can move on to the next area of improvement. “If you try to fix everything about your life, you will probably fix nothing.”
Tip #2 – Discipline is about knowledge not effort. It is unfortunate that many people have decided they can “will” themselves into better living. They say things like, “If only I had a little more will power, I would spend more time in the field.” Here is a question for you, if you saw a red hot oven burner, how much discipline would you need to refrain from setting your hand on it? You know why this doesn’t take any discipline? Because you understand that not touching a red hot burner is in your interest and you understand exactly what will happen if you take that action.
If you want to develop discipline, increase your understanding. One of my favorite statements is this; “Great actions follow great convictions.” If you really want to increase your “discipline” about spending more time in the field, you need a deeper understanding. You need to take a couple hours and listen to a sales book so you will develop a strong conviction that if you did go out in the field, you could become successful. Or, you could use our income calculator to see the long term results of your prospecting efforts. Understanding the benefits of your efforts long term would be much more effective than just “willing” yourself to work harder. The first time I got a “buyout” offer on my residual portfolio and I realized how much each account was really worth, I spent a lot more time in the field because I had a new understanding about the value of my efforts.
Tip #3 – Most successful people are experts at tricking themselves into developing discipline. One very successful man I know used to hide three alarm clocks in his room in order to get up at 4:30am. He believed this one habit would have a dramatic effect on his performance, so he hid one alarm clock under his bed, another one in his closet and a third one under the dresser. He said that he hated getting up early but by the time he climbed all over the floor to turn off these alarm clocks, he was awake enough to make it into the shower and start his day. Years later, he now gets up at 4:30 am without an alarm clock because his body is so used to this habit and he has moved on to “tricking” himself into other good habits.
Another successful person I know wanted to have a stronger weekly devotions time. This particular friend was very health conscious and already had strong habits in this area. For him to have a candy bar was a big deal and there was one candy bar in particular that he really liked. So, every week for several months, he decided that he would conduct his weekly devotions in his car in a parking lot at a nearby store. Before starting the devotions time, he went in and purchased this candy bar and he would eat it while having his devotions. This developed strong positive feelings in his mind associated with his weekly devotions.
These “tricks” may sound childish to you, but both of these individuals were in their 40’s or 50’s when engaging in these activities and both men were already very successful executives. It takes a certain amount of humility to admit that resorting to “tricks” will be effective to develop discipline but if you can pull it off, it will be incredibly effective. Start developing your skills at self-trickery and understanding now, and you will develop more discipline than you ever thought possible.
I hope these tips help you accomplish more of what you believe you should be doing!
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