In the past, I’ve shared that I’d joined a gym, and I drew some parallels between getting into the regular gym-going habit and regularly engaging in business development. If you missed those notes, you can read them here and here, and I recommend you do so.
When things went a bit haywire in my personal life and got frantic with business, I quit going. Isn’t that the story? I worked out on my regular schedule while I was away on vacation, but when I got back to “real life”, real life crowded out my goals. (At least, that was my story. The truth, of course, is that I allowed that crowding out to happen.)
The lessons I’ve learned from this experience apply equally to business development.
- Take full responsibility for your choices. I would love to blame circumstances for my gym interruption. And, in fairness, I could – life threw several big curve-balls that boomeranged around over and over. But if I blame circumstance, that puts circumstance in the driver’s seat and I can only play along. Thanks, but no. I’d rather take responsibility for my choices because doing so creates an easy-to-see opportunity for change.
- Do what you can even when things fall apart. Even though I wasn’t able to stick with the workout schedule I’d planned, my fitness goals remained important and so I focused on eating well rather than using my “inability” to go to the gym as license to abandon the goal completely. Results? I went down 30 pounds since I started going to the gym, despite the 3 months of not working out. And my first day back to the gym was much easier than it would have been had I used the lack of workouts as an excuse to spend time with my pals Ben and Jerry.
- Get back to your plan as soon as you can. The more fully you observe the first point, the quicker “as soon as you can” is likely to occur. But even when you lose sight that the timing is largely within your control, keep a sharp eye for the first opportunity. As soon as you see it, seize it.
- Consider whether the disruption reveals the need to revise your plan. I was going to the gym for an hour a day four or five days a week. That pace isn’t realistic for my life right now. However, I can revise my plan and go two or three times a week and supplement with neighborhood walks. That change takes account of my own changed circumstances and makes it much more likely that I’ll stick to the plan.
Let’s face it: sometimes we let life or business get in the way of our goals. If you keep these tips front-of-mind, however, you’ll find a lot more success even when you might be tempted to throw in the towel and wait for things to settle down.
What suggestions do you have for staying on track under adverse circumstances? Leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear what works for you!