Discipline Is Important.
I recently read an article about why discipline is important to a marketer. The author said that undisciplined people only live for today. He added that disciplined people use a little of their time for pleasure, and then invest the rest of their time in the future. Disciplined people get out of their armchair and do something. This takes effort and willpower. On the other hand, undisciplined people squander their time and their money. It takes discipline to be a successful at business and in life.
While I fundamentally agree with this premise, there is something about the concept of discipline that sounded tough…agonizing, even. I had to take some time to think this through. As a person who believes free time and relaxation, how can this still apply? Can a person be both a pleasure seeker and disciplined?
Are You A Grasshopper or An Ant?
Does a person have to make a choice between being the fabled lazy grasshopper or the hardworking ant? You know the story. The ant slaves away all summer creating shelter and storing seeds for the winter while the grasshopper laughs and dances and sings, thinking the ant is a fool. Come winter, the ant is cozy and well fed. The grasshopper perishes from hunger and the cold. Both of those guys were flawed, in my opinion. One had no sense of community and the other, no joy or humor.
And it made me start thinking. I’m a marketing expert. I spend my days developing marketing strategies for my clients and I work to market my own business. Does it take discipline? Well, the answer, of course, is a big “Yes!” Does that mean that in order to be successful, I have to be like the ant? Am I relegated to the role of schlepping my days away carrying seeds back to the nest for the winter? Well…no, I think not.
All work and no play makes for a dull girl. As a creative person, I know taking that route would be a sure path to stagnation. Plus, I don’t like to think of myself as stodgy. Do you know what the thesaurus has next to stodgy? Try blah, boring, humdrum, plebeian, trite, uninteresting, and wearisome. Ugh!
Discipline is a Practice
But, I’m not like the frivolous grasshopper, either. Because I AM disciplined. I do invest ongoing time in various endeavors that will have a payoff in the future. Yet, none of my day-to-day activities are agonizing for me. I love working on my business, my clients are wonderful, and I feel completely fulfilled by my outside interests, my home, and my friendships. And, these things each take ongoing care, nurturing, and attention.
What I realized is that everything I do in my life involves embracing a practice. Discipline is defined as “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior.” I think the best example of this is my yoga. Yes, it is a routine, but it is by no means agonizing. (Well…okay, there are some crazy poses that are a little over the top!) My yoga practice brings me joy and I feel more centered.
In the same way, building a business and a regular marketing routine is about a practice. It requires discipline, but this in no way detracts from being creative or enjoying today, right now, in this moment. Marketing is about building stronger relationships. It takes a continuous effort to relate to customers, vendors, referral sources, and leads. Invest in your business through an ongoing commitment to promoting it with both enthusiasm and creativity.
Successful Marketing Requires Discipline
For marketing to succeed, it is crucial to take the approach of a disciplined practice. And, the more time you invest in each activity, the more you will prosper at all levels of your business. Ultimately, I realize that the author of the article was correct. But, I believe it requires a combined approach of the grasshopper AND the ant.
Have discipline and build relationships, like the ant. But, also be sure to take time for relaxation and activities you enjoy, like the grasshopper. Work in a business that is fulfilling to you. And that is the biggest key. Discipline does not make you stodgy if you are investing your time in an endeavor that you feel passionate toward.
Success is an ongoing journey. Each time you return to your disciplined practice, whatever it is, you prosper from the moment-to-moment experience of doing it. As time goes on, your discipline pays off. So, take time to examine your practice of marketing. Is it a disciplined approach? Is it a practice you follow rigorously? Begin to move forward purposefully with an intention to expand your business and invest in your marketing activities every day. By committing to consistent and persistent marketing efforts, you WILL get amazing results.
Wendy Maynard, your friendly marketing maven, is the owner of Kinesis. Kinesis specializes in marketing, graphic and website design, and business writing.
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