More often than not, we catch what we pursue, not what we envision. Contrary to a commonly held popular narrative, we aren’t successful by just envisioning what we want. There are three legs to the Success Stool, not just one:
Know where you’re going and when you want to be there. Don’t know that? Don’t bother with anything else. If you didn’t know where you were going on vacation and when you wanted to be there, how would you know when to start packing your car and what to put in it? It’s a big duh, I know. Yet we never think to apply the same duh to our business.
Do you know where you’re going in your business (what does it look like at Maturity), and when you want to be there? Of course not. Yet you’re out there every day packing your business car with no idea where you’re going or when you want to be there. Until you know the outcome you are shooting for a few years from now, can describe it in detail, and know exactly when you intend to be there, you’re not building a business, your just making money.
And making money is killing your business. Stop making money and figure out what your business will look like when it’s making money for you. Put a date on when you intend to be there and watch the fireworks begin. Put a time of day on it, too, that will really get the Business Maturity clock ticking in your head. My Business Maturity Date (BMD) is Friday, February 18, 2011, at 10am. What’s yours?
2) Skill development
There isn’t a golfer on the PGA tour that doesn’t know their statistics, which makes it clear what their strengths and weaknesses are so they can train with a purpose. We call them professionals. We all want to be called business professionals, yet most of us don’t have any numbers we follow religiously, and as a result, have no clue what skills we should be developing. We wing it through every business day, putting band-aids on broken legs and wondering why The Tyranny of the Urgent rules our day. If we were truly professionals we would have a plan for professional development and be committed to it. We all want to be the best in our class, until we actually have to practice to get there. Too many of us are just playing air guitar – we’re faking it.
Diligence is the mature form of discipline. Discipline is the short-term act of preparing for a marathon by following the training schedule. Diligence is the act of running all your life to stay fit. If you develop the art of diligence and not just discipline, you’ll be much more likely to be successful over the long haul and get to your Business Maturity Date.
Discipline can get us to a short-term objective, but diligence will take us all the way to the end. Diligence breeds quiet resolve toward long-term goals. And it is founded in conation – the will to succeed that manifests itself in single-minded pursuit of a goal (John McClintock’s definition in Self-Made in America).
Vision isn’t enough to get us where we want to go. It’s a map. We still have to get on the trail and walk in the right direction.
Having a plan to develop our skills isn’t of any value if you don’t have a “big why” for doing so, and the diligence to develop them for the long haul.
Discipline and diligence aren’t enough. I know plenty of people who are committed to doing the same things every day who have know idea why, and have never thought about where it’s taking them.
We need Vision, Diligence, and a plan for developing the right Skills. Put all three of these together and that is the Law of Intentionality – I know where I’m going, I know what I need to do to get there, and I’m committed to whatever I have to do to make it happen.
You’re much more likely to get somewhere if you put all three of these legs on your business stool.