I had the great pleasure of interviewing the New York Times bestselling author of Take the Stairs, productivity expert and new friend, Rory Vaden.
My friends, slow down today. Take a few minutes to listen to our discussion on accountability — and how it will change your life.
Here is the transcript from our interview:
Q: I know a lot of the Rising Above community has already checked out your book, your blogs – but for those of us who don’t know as much about you: give us the nickel tour of Rory.
A: Well you think about yourself for a second. The last time that you were in front of a set of escalators and some stairs: did you take the stairs? And for most of us, the answer is no. Most of us take the escalator. We live in an escalator world. We live in this world of shortcuts, paths of least resistance, looking for magic pills, secrete potions and hidden formulas. Our whole philosophy can be boiled down to three words: take the stairs. And really one word. We believe that success and anything that matters to you in life is rooted in self-discipline, and so over the last fifteen years, I’ve been studying self-discipline very rigorously. And the media refers to me as a self-discipline strategist so we’ve kind of adopted that. That is what we love that is what we are passionate about doing is helping people leverage self-discipline and understand it so they can achieve their goals in life.
Q: Tell us about your professional journey so folks hear that you don’t only preach it but that you have lived it.
A: Let’s talk about when I wasn’t doing self-discipline because that is a lot about how I got here. Nine years ago I was 40 pounds heavier than I am now. I had $50,000 in personal debt. My business was losing tens of thousands of dollars – it was a dark place. Take the stairs is now translated into ten forward languages and the NYC time bestselling, I never saught out to solve the world’s problems. At the beginning it was really about solving my own. Once I really started to understand self-discipline I’ve been able to apply that to a lot of things. I made a quarter million dollars in four summers knocking on doors, toast masters, spoke 304 times for free to prepare for this contest. Then that little company that was four people that was losing 10s of 1,000s of dollars has now grown to 76 full-time employees, one-on-one sales coaching, coached over 2,700 people, have consulting clients in 25 different countries, speak and write books.
Q: I know you are an expert at self-discipline – part of that is accountability. That is our theme this month at Rising Above is choosing accountability: choosing it, being intentional about it. I reached out to you hoping you could share us some ideas, believes and concepts so we can be more accountable in our own lives.
A: Well, I think accountability and just being willing to be held accountable is so powerful, important. We think of being accountable is bad and scary – but the only time it is scary is when you don’t have confidence in your own integrity. When you don’t have confidence that you are a person who will do what you say you are going to do. I don’t mean this in a righteous way, if you struggle with integrity it is a very serious issue and it is hard. The way to build integrity is by simply doing things you say you are going to do. It can be small: hey I am going to meet you for lunch at this place at this time – and you be there.
…Becoming relentlessly committed to doing what you say you are going to do. Then your confidence grows. And then it’s like of course I want accountability and I have nothing to be afraid of because I know and everyone else knows that I am going to do everything in my power to do what I said I was going to do.
Q: For those of us who struggle in this area – for those of us who take the escalator – what is the one thing you would tell us to try today.
A: The people who think of self-discipline as hard are the people who don’t understand it. In Take the Stairs, the very first principle, because all the whole book is the seven misconceptions people have about self-discipline. The most disciplined people in the world aren’t’ born that way, but they learn to think that way and if you can learn to think like them, self-discipline isn’t as hard as we think when we learn how to think about it.
The first principle, easy short term choices lead to difficult long-term consequences, meanwhile difficult short-term choices lead to easy long-term consequences. So it coming to grips with that idea that the things that seem like an easy way actually are what make life harder: buying whatever you want when you can’t afford it, eating whatever you feel like, saying whatever you comes to mind. The things that seem difficult make your life easier. So all of those indulgences and all that procrastination is really nothing more than a creditor that charges you interest. Doing things right is what is going to make your life easier in the long run.
Q: I know you strive for success in business but also in life. For those of us feeling like we are under water in business, financially, spiritually – how do you suggest that we rebalance, reorganize and take the stairs most effectively in life decisions?
A: If you are burnt out, beat up – spend time thinking about what you really want in your life. that is one of the most common habits of ultra-performers, the spend time thinking about what they really want. You have to let go of the doubt that you can’t do it. And then you make the decision to take the first step of the thing you know how to do, and it will lead to the next one and the next one and the next one. And with each step you build integrity and confidence and self-discipline.
If there is one last thing I would leave people with – I would say stop looking for short cuts. I would say embrace what we call the rent axiom. “Success is never owned – success is only rented and the rent is due every day.”
Q: Where can people learn more about your work and your organization?
A: RoryVadenBlog.com that’s the place to go to get linked to social media, get a free ebook, read some of my articles, if you are in sales you can learn about us coming into your office an doing a free workshop for your team.