The fifth chunk to increasing personal productivity is accountability. Accountability serves as a reality check to keep us on track and to help us stay grounded and focused. Unfortunately, less than two percent of the population has the ability to hold themselves accountable. So they usually need a mentor, a coach, or need to participate in a mastermind group, or some other process that gets them away from rationalizing about what they are not doing and hold their feet to the fire about doing what needs to be done.
One Man’s Story
One of the best clients I’ve had, and he’s been a client since 1998, is Mr. X. Mr. X is a life insurance guy who had been in the business twenty-four years and had never really had a blowout year. When I met him he was making very good money, multiple six figure income but he was about as organized as a soup sandwich and was probably the poster child for ADD. I told him that to his face and we joke about it because he is a champion at chasing the next shiny object.
Since he has the attention span of a gnat, getting him focused proved very difficult. During the entire year we worked together we talked every week about what he did the previous week and what he was going to accomplish during the upcoming week. Sometimes the calls were pleasant and I congratulated him on a job well done but sometimes I had to kick his butt because he didn’t do what he said he was going to do that week.
During the one year he worked with me he wrote more business and earned more money than he had in his entire twenty-four year career in the life insurance business. He qualified for what’s called ‘Top of the Table’ in the life insurance business – a designation based on production which put him not only in the top 1% of all life insurance agents worldwide but put him in the top 1/10th of 1%. So he was in the 99.9% percentile group in terms of income made by life insurance agents.
The tragic end of that story is that the following year he did not work with me and his income dropped over $100,000. He has gotten religion again because now he is now back working with me. He’s finally figured out that he can’t get there by himself; he is incapable of doing it alone. He realizes like most all top performers that they cannot get “there” by themselves and that they need a coach, mentor or manager to hold them accountable to do the things they say they are going to do and the things they know they need to do in order to grow.
Discipline v. Regret
When it’s all said and done, according to Jim Rohn who recently passed away, there are two major pains in this life, one is the pain of discipline and the other is the pain of regret. Rohn said “Discipline weighs ounces; regret weighs tons, particularly when you allow yourself to simply drift along unfulfilled.”
At some point in the future when you’re sitting on the front porch rocking, you will either be glad you paid the price of discipline to do what was necessary to become a top performer or you will regret the fact that you had an opportunity that you never took. It will be one of those two things, there is no in between.