In her soon to be released book, "Living Life With No Regrets," my wife, Anne, interviewed Denis Collier. Denis is a registered dietician and certified exercise physiologist. One of the questions she asked Denis is, "What is the impact of choosing not to lead a healthy lifestyle over the short-term and long-term?" His answer can have a profound positive impact on your business health and fitness also. He said, "This question really gets to the root of the cause of why people often choose NOT to do the healthy things. The key is this – there are minimal short-term consequences to making the unhealthy choice. In fact, quite often it is just the opposite: the unhealthy choice is the one that is most pleasurable. This applies to many things in life, not just health and fitness."
In another part of the interview Denis continues, "Few individuals can honestly say that eating a spinach salad generates the same immediate pleasurable sensation as eating an ice cream sundae. On most nights, it is immediately easier to go home and curl up on the couch instead of going for a workout in the gym. It is only in the long-term, after a lifetime of such choices, do the negative consequences rear their ugly head. My friend, who has lost a great deal of weight, said it best when asked how he, an intelligent, successful man, could have allowed himself to go through life so obese for so long, 'I knew that it was probably going to kill me, but I also knew that it probably wasn’t going to kill me tomorrow!'"
Denis continues, "The key term we could all benefit from exploring is that of delayed gratification. We need to shift our focus from the pleasure that we will immediately get from the unhealthy choice, to the more fulfilling life of abundant health and energy that will surely come to us if we choose to make the healthy choice."
And the same is true for making good business decisions, isn't it? It's easier to read an article about the market or the economy. It's easier to do research about the next great technology tool. It's easier to help your assistant do an administrative task. If you don't ask for referrals today it isn't going to kill your business. If you don't make follow calls today it isn't going to kill your business. If you don't improve the value you deliver for your clients today it isn't going to kill your business. If you don't get more organized today it isn't going to kill your business. If you don't hire a great assistant today it isn't going to kill your business. Etc, etc, etc. String those days together, however, and after a few years you find yourself smack, dab in the middle of mediocre-land. Mediocre production. Mediocre qualify of life. Mediocre clientele. Mediocre value proposition. My guess is that you didn't enter this business intending to put down permanent roots in the heart of mediocre land.
So, what can you do about it? Take it one day at a time. The beauty of it being easy not to ask for referrals today is that it's also easy to start asking for referrals today. Today you can make follow-up calls. Today you can improve your value delivery. Today you can get more organized. Pick one or two things and do them today. Today you can also stop doing one or more of the many things that do not move you toward your goals. And then you can do what you know moves you towards your goals again tomorrow.
And while you're at it, feel free to do the same with your health and fitness. Make it a great day... today.