How to strengthen your self-discipline muscles

Never have we needed our self-discipline as much as we do now. A month ago, they told us it would be three weeks of self-quarantining, then it was another three weeks, and now what next? Will it be another three weeks? The truth is they don’t know. Even if they let us back in the office, will our clients still be worried about the virus and want to see us?

In this time of uncertainty, we need our self-discipline more than ever. I must have said in 100 speeches, “Self-discipline is like a muscle. The more it’s used, the stronger it becomes.” It’s true. When I look back 50 years (I can’t believe it either) to those heady days when the only compliance was my conscience and the certain knowledge that what was right for my client would be good for me too, I knew I needed 15 appointments every week. Was it easy? Of course not. As I dragged myself from one cold call to the next, it took every ounce of self-discipline.

Fast forward 20 years, making MDRT’s Top of the Table every year had become easy, it had become routine — just maintain the momentum, keep doing what got you here and you will stay here. Yes, self-discipline is like a muscle. As long as we keep using it, it stays strong. Stop using it, and it becomes hard to restart and regain momentum.

We need our self-discipline to decide which clients to call to

  • Check on, ask if they’re OK and let them know you’re thinking of them
  • Advise to not wait until the end of the tax year to get their ISA (In the U.K., it’s an Individual Savings Account with tax-free interest payments) done.
  • “Do it now while the market is down and the ‘sale’ is still on.”
  • Set up a Skype/FaceTime/Zoom appointment to do business

We don’t know how long this lockdown will last. What we do know is that if we lose our momentum, it will be much harder to rebuild. Never have we needed our self-discipline as much as we do now.

Tony Gordon, a 43-year MDRT member from Bristol, England, is a Top of the Table qualifier who served as MDRT President in 2001.

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