William Arthur Ward says “the Price of Excellence is discipline. The Cost of mediocrity is disappointment.”
I cannot begin to tell you about the number of clients who I see on a daily basis who are faced with the disappointment that comes because of their own mediocrity.
Oh, don’t for a minute think that they are disappointed or angry or even resentful because they see themselves as the problem or that they have been mediocre in their businesses or with their staff or with the VAT/Taxman. Oh no! Their disappointment is always because of something or someone else. It couldn’t possibly be because of what they may have or may not have done!
The reality, of course, is usually very different. It is entirely because of their own actions or more often than not, their inactions.
Often though (to give them a little benefit of the doubt), their action or inaction is directly attributable to their lack of knowledge on the subject. Again, in all truthfulness, this is also directly attributable to their own lack of discipline. I can actually see everybody’s hackles rising as they read these words. But actually, that is exactly what it is – lack of discipline because inadequate research has been done and it’s been a case of, “Jump right in honey, the water is just fine!”
You see, too often we have an idea for a product or business and without doing the proper research or understanding the full consequences of our actions or inactions, we just jump right in and then of course when we fail, it’s everybody else’s fault, definitely not ours. We didn’t have the self-discipline to sit down, do the research, work out the numbers, calculate the risks against the rewards and then make an informed decision.
Of course, there are those of us who have the information and who know the risks but who choose not to work in a disciplined environment, or who want to “cheat” the system or who thrive on taking risks. For those too, it’s also everyone else’s fault when they get “caught out”. It’s the VAT/taxman who has killed their business – not their lack of discipline to manage their VAT or tax. Or how about the Department of Labour, which has imposed a huge fine for non-compliance, that may result in the business folding – not their unfair Labour practice or lack of discipline in following the rules, that protect both them and their staff.
In both of these instances (and thousands of others that result in the failure of a business), the implementation of simple policies and procedures and the discipline needed to follow them would have been sufficient to avoid the problems and their subsequent consequences altogether.
But no – it’s easier to apportion blame than it is to admit that we were in the wrong!
It’s easier to “go with the flow” than it is to set the boundaries and limits and be disciplined enough to stay within these parameters.
Be warned though – those of you who just “go with the flow” usually end up learning and also paying for the hardest lesson of all – the lesson of failure and disappointment.