There is a famous quotation, usually attributed (wrongly) to Aristotle, that we are what we repeatedly do. I guess the other side of this is that what we don’t do, we don’t become. For example, having a gym membership will not make me fit. Visiting the gym won’t make me fit either. What will make me fit is having a gym membership, visiting the gym and working out regularly – with the right exercises that will make a difference to me. Intent without action isn’t going to get me very far! I have to commit to doing it, not just think about it, or even plan to do it.
We know this in our personal lives, so why do we forget it when in our business lives?
There are literally hundreds of articles all claiming to tell us what the keys to success are – the magic answer that will solve everything. They tell us, if we just do this one, two, five, ten things we’ll win. And some of them are great – with some really great suggestions. But the bit that’s generally missing for me in all these Lifehacks, is not what the activity should be, but how to make it stick.
Returning to my fitness theme from the start, I have great intentions about taking exercise. I know that it’s good for me and will bring me benefits. I know that once I get started I actually quite enjoy it. And I know that if I put my mind to it, I can find the time for it. But knowing all of these things doesn’t make it any easier to do.
After much trial and error, what I’ve found works for me is to get up at the same time every day and do some form of exercise before I start my day – even just for 20 minutes. If I leave it until after work, there are too many other excuses. If I do some mornings and not others, the lure of a few extra minutes in bed is too great.
Getting up at the same time every morning and throwing on my exercise gear has become a habit now – I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to make choices. I just do it. It’s not rocket science. It just makes it easier to remember to do. Unconsciously, I have managed to adopt all 3 of the ‘rules’ suggested in this Forbes article for making habits stick – I have designed a strategy, I have been consistent and (importantly for me!) I haven’t given up the first time I’ve failed.
The Asentiv Ignite Your Business program is much the same. None of what we cover is particularly complex. Some of it has been described as ‘so obvious I don’t know why I’m not doing it already’. Nor is it particularly time consuming or resource heavy. In fact, we believe that if you follow the Ignite Your Business methods you will find yourself working less but achieving more.
The trick to it all is to make it consistent, to be deliberate about the things we do and to ensure they become a habit. As they say, what gets measured gets done. In Ignite your Business, one of the tools we use is a Networking Scorecard, developed by Asentiv. This simple tool allows us to plan and track our networking activities every week and enables us to make them more purposeful. Over the course of the program, completing the scorecard every week makes sure it becomes a habit that will stick.
Of course, if we’re going to spend time developing habits, we’d better make sure they’re the right ones in the first place. Practice can only make perfect if it’s the right thing we’re practicing! Working on our own, it’s easy to get off-track. Feedback from others is an essential part of getting better at what we do. As coaches we can bring accountability, but the real feedback and the biggest impact often comes from the community of participants that’s created on each program.
Being a business owner can be a lonely job at times, working with a community of like minded entrepreneurs can make a real difference.
And that’s why I should probably join a running club!