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Developing the Discipline to Run a Successful Business – NYT Bestselling Author Rory Vaden

[Original air date: 1/23/18]

New York Times Bestselling Author, Rory Vaden, talks about overcoming procrastination, developing discipline and the rent axiom which says that success is never owned. Success is only rented. And the rent is due every day.

procrastinate on purpose Take the stairs


Jim Fitzpatrick: Rory Vaden is the co-founder of Southwestern Consulting, and New York Times bestselling author of Take The Stairs, once again, welcome back, we’re so happy that you took the time out of your day to join us.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Great. Rory, you speak so much about overcoming procrastination and really developing good discipline. Talk to us a little bit about when you can kind of take a rest. One of the most popular concepts that you share is your [rent 00:00:30] [axiom 00:00:31], can you explain that to us?

Rory Vaden: Yeah. You know it’s funny, ’cause every time I go out and speak, if I’m out speaking at an event or whatever, Jim, it always cracks me up, because one person will come up to me in the back of the room, and they ask this question, and this question always makes me smile, because honestly, I think this is the question I would ask, if the roles were reversed, and I was in your seats, hearing all this for the first time, and say “Okay Rory, we’re talking about …” we’ve done this in some of the other videos, “We’ve talked about creative avoidance, and priority dilution, and procrastination, and taking action, and the law of diminishing intent, and doing the things you don’t want to do, and taking the stairs, and being disciplined. How long do I have to do that for?”

And I’m gonna share with you the truth, which again, like a lot of what I share, is not always what you want to hear, it’s just what we need to hear. The truth is, we never get to stop being disciplined. We never do. Now I want to clarify. It doesn’t mean that your life is gonna be one great big giant trip to the gym, or that you’re gonna hate every day, or that you’re only gonna eat foliage, right? It just … because what happens is it gets easier, as you go. Today is the hardest it will ever be, and then it gets easier and easier and easier. And what happens over time is, over the long haul, you make a bunch of short-term sacrifices to break through, to create the desired result, and then once you’ve established the new expectation level, and new systems, and new processes, to operate at a certain level of performance, becomes easier to make that sort of a standard.

But the reason you never get to stop being disciplined is because of something that we at Southwestern Consulting call the rent axiom. And the rent axiom’s been around our culture for years, and the rent axiom says that success is never owned. Success is only rented. And the rent is due every day. Success is never owned.

Jim Fitzpatrick: It’s a very good point.

Rory Vaden: And it’s true, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: It is. So true.

Rory Vaden: Success is never owned. It is rented. And the rent is due every day. And you can take out the word success and you can put in for it whatever matters most to you in your life. A great team is never owned, it’s rented, and the rent is due every day. Happy customers are never owned. They’re rented, and the rent is due every day. Great service is never owned. It’s rented, and the rent is due every day.

Even in your personal lives. Being in great physical health is never owned, it’s rented, and the rent is due every day. Any of those things. A happy marriage is never owned, it’s rented, and the rent is due every day. Now the rent is higher for some of you than others, on that last one, depending on who you married, for sure, but that’s just a truth of life is that you’re never there. There’s no invisible finish line where suddenly you’re just done, and you’ve reached it. And if you ever get to that point, you’re really in trouble, because when complacency breeds contempt, and complacency is one of the most dangerous places to be, not just from a production standpoint, from a happiness standpoint. The moment you stop growing is the moment that you start dying.

And here’s the other thing, is people hear this, sometimes, Jim, and they go, “Oh, success is never owned, it’s rented, and the rent is due every day.” And sometimes this strikes them as bad news.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Rory Vaden: ‘Cause we sort of want to hear that there is a finish line. We want to hear like, oh, one day I will be done.

Jim Fitzpatrick: We want that gratification of accomplishment, and saying, “Okay, I’m good, I’m retiring now, from this concept.”

Rory Vaden: Right. The truth is that this is perhaps one of the most empowering secrets of all, from Take The Stairs, is that when you embrace the idea that success is never owned, it is rented, and the rent is due every day, there’s a major transformation that happens in your life. When you really start to embody this philosophy and practice it, there is a big change. What happens is you move away from thinking that there is some finish line, there’s some promised land, that there is some sort of almost like a retirement mindset towards things. It doesn’t mean you don’t accomplish great things, it does. It just means that you stop kind of looking to those things to bring you sort of the happiness or whatever, and what happens is you embrace, instead, that success is not about huge grandiose decisions, it’s not about these huge grandiose accomplishments, it’s about the small, seemingly insignificant, nearly invisible, teeny, tiny choices that we make each and every single day. And so you approach every day with the chance to go, this is the day that matters, right?

Today is the day that I’m becoming somebody. I’m not riding and the laurels of who I was yesterday, I’m not riding on the happiness of what I experienced yesterday. Today is the day that I’m building towards something that is better for the future. The best for me is not yet here. The best is still to come. And that is a powerful perspective, ’cause not only does it cause you to do the work, and put in the discipline, and embrace the process, which is going to produce results, it also is a mentality of going, “You know what? My potential is still out in front of me. What I’m really capable of, I haven’t yet seen.” And that keeps you going, and it keeps it exciting.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And it would seem to me that the quicker you adapt to that way of thinking, to say that it is something where you’ve got to pay the rent every day, and accept that, then in and of itself, it will get easier to deal with, each day. It just becomes who you are. Is that fair to say?

Rory Vaden: Yeah, absolutely. I mean people who are successful, and they embrace this, they tend to be successful everywhere they go, because they’re constantly learning, constantly growing, constantly striving, and they also tend to not have a ton of ego. They tend to not be arrogant because they know that who I was, just because I was successful yesterday, doesn’t mean I’m gonna be successful today. Every new prospect is a completely new experience. They have no idea. They have no idea if you’re having a great month, or if you’re having a crappy month. All they know is how you show up with them, and if you show up as, “Oh, I’m the man,” or “I’m the woman, I got it all figured out, and I’m just cruising,” or, “Oh my gosh, woe is me, life is terrible, I hate my job,” both of those things are gonna ruin that sale.

But if you show up and like, “I’m here to serve, I’m here to do my best, how can I help? Let me show you,” and when you do that, and you have that enthusiasm, and that energy, every single day, it makes a difference. People notice. People pay attention. They buy from you, they come back, and they refer their friends to those who are willing to pay the price each and every day.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And I would imagine that those that practice this turn around after a month of really discipline on this, and putting this into their daily lives, or maybe two months, and realizing, “Wow, I really have moved myself ahead in so many different areas.” And while it was hard to get started, and even to stay on track, they begin to feel the reward of it, and therefore it, then, in and of itself, it becomes easier to do, as well, right?

Rory Vaden: Yeah. I mean it’s constant and never-ending improvement becomes a part of your natural state of being. You’re always growing, always learning. Always striving to get better and better. It doesn’t mean that you have no life outside of work at all. That’s not what it means. It just means that you are committed and dedicated and that you have made a resolution to improve and to grow. And what’s so powerful about this is we had a Navy Seal on my podcast here recently, and he shared this thing that he called 20-X, and he said one of the first things that they do, during Hell week in [Buds 00:08:43] training, the reason they put you through this Hell week is not to condition you physically, it’s to condition you mentally. It’s to convince you, and prove to you, and demonstrate that you are capable of 20 times more than you think. So both complacency and discouragement, those are both forms of self-centeredness. They’re both … one is thinking woe is me, the other one is oh how amazing I am, but when you’re thinking about serving people, and you’re thinking about just going out there, you realize, gosh, you’re capable of so much more, and you haven’t even tested the limits.

One of the things that the Navy Seals say, a lot, is they say the body can take damn near anything. It’s the mind that needs conditioning. The mind needs to be pruned. The mind needs to be trained. The mind needs to be pushed. And that needs to happen each and every day. Success is never owned, it is only rented, and the rent is due every day.

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