I ran a marathon 30 years ago. While training, my wife, Diane, started casually jogging with me at the end or beginning of my runs. A few weeks before the marathon she ran a half-marathon with me.
Since I had never run more than three miles, I had a five month schedule for preparing for the marathon. I was very disciplined about it, it didn’t matter if it was late at night or raining, I kept to my schedule for those five months and finished my marathon.
20 years later I was only running casually one or twice a week, sometimes less. I was able to keep my exercise going with team sports, but really didn’t have much of a long term commitment to running. 30 years after the marathon Diane was running four to five times a week faithfully, every week.
I had been disciplined to prepare for the marathon, but Diane was diligent to run year after year. We hear a lot of talk about discipline, but diligence trumps discipline every time, and is much more desirable in growing a business that lasts.
Tony Robbins says we over estimate what we can do in a month, and greatly underestimate what we can do in a year. Diligence takes the long haul into account and sets us up for long=term success. It isn’t about being the tortoise, but it’s definitely about not being the hare. Diligence keeps us from getting distracted by each new shiny object.
Why are there so many peaks in valleys in businesses I observe? Too often it’s caused by being too committed to very short term impact and not having a good grasp on how to do anything about the long term.
Henry David Thoreau said “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” In business, we get a shot at quiet desperation every time we commit to a short-term shiny object that we just got excited about. Emotion and shiny objects are a great for recipe for short-term shooting stars, but diligence keeps us grounded, stable, shooting for something significant with our business.
Short term goals that aren’t connected to any significant future for our business contribute to quiet desperation – moving from one short term, random, unconnected objective to another. Longer term objectives for our business get us focused on something significant and create quiet resolve.
Making money is not an empowering vision. Move from quiet desperation to quiet resolve. Get some real reasons to grow a business.