My husband and I just started cycling about six months ago. We love it -- but while it is fun, it is a little frustrating. Believe me, we have been making progress: increasing our speed and distance. But it feels like despite six months of riding two to three times per week, we are still slower than most of the group members we ride with.
So feeling defeated, I went to talk with one of the more experienced riders to ask what I should do; how I could get better faster. Now the experienced riders in our group are fantastic: really open and willing to share their ideas and input to help those of us less experienced to get better. As I shared my story with Joe, our group leader, of how frustrated I was, he listened and then he smiled. He said, "Meridith, you and Rob are doing everything right, and you have made amazing progress. You need to be patient. Don't you realize that the very people you want to keep up with have been riding for years? The only way for you to catch up is time on the bike. Watch cycling videos and learn from those more experienced than you. In short, the only way to get better now is to commit the time, energy and hard work -- and then give it time."
Now I had to laugh. I know better than that. I completely understood what Joe was telling me, and he was right. Hadn't I seen that in my own business? In fact, I had just experienced my best month ever, and Rob and I had just gone to dinner to celebrate. Why? Not because I billed out my best month ever, but because all of my hard work was paying off. He had watched me work so hard over the last six years, working the strategies I share with you below. Rob knows that no one knows better than me there is no bigger key to success than commitment and hard work!
See, that is one thing I love about sports and quite frankly anything in life -- anything you want to be good at. You have to realize that being really good does not happen overnight. There is no silver bullet and no magic pill. It cannot be accomplished by attending one seminar, weekend workshop or walking over hot coals or broken glass. It can only be accomplished by making the commitment and doing the hard work!
Now I am not saying that those things do not help you. They can provide clarity, motivation and the shot in the arm you need to get moving. But to really, truly make progress takes good ole fashioned hard work and commitment. And it certainly is the key to success in this economy -- The Trust & Value Economy.
So what does it take to "work hard" to "commit" and to move yourself forward so you are on the path to progress and prosperity?
Plan - You need to start with a plan. You need a road map; a direction, something you can follow and goals you can establish. In this day and age of white noise, shiny object syndrome, and daily distractions, it is easy to get off target. The biggest challenges I see with the professionals and CEOs I work with is that they are not clear about where they are headed, what their priorities are, and where their spending of time has the most value. If you want to win in the Trust & Value Economy, then get a plan!
Be Consistent - Oh yes, doing the same things day-in and day-out sounds so boring, doesn't it? Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Consistency is one of the major keys to success if you want to succeed in this economy. You know, the moment you hit the office door your day starts to "happen" to you. If you do not have a consistent set of actions/behaviors that you commit to and prioritize, to do on a daily and weekly basis, then you will continue to work in your business rather than work on it. You will at best stand still in your business, rather than move it forward.
Learn - Accountability: yes, it is the most underrated term in the sales process. What good is a plan? What good is committing to a consistent set of actions/behaviors if you do not hold yourself accountable and learn from your actions? Accountability is for one purpose and one purpose only: to learn. Where did you spend your time that had value? Where did you waste your time? What can you do better next week? If you want to succeed in this economy, hold yourself accountable and learn.
I have to say, I am one of those unusual folks who is glad that hot coals and weekend workshops don't transform us into a success overnight. The reward of truly helping a client, finally closing that sale and watching our business grow and our bottom line get fatter comes from knowing we did the work, we put in the time, and we earned the reward. So back on the bike I go. The more time with feet on the pedals, the better and faster I get!