Upon starting any endeavor, a new school year, a new job, or a new relationship, we all begin with a perfect score, or a clean slate.  In school, each student starts out on that first day with a 4.0 – straight A’s.  In our new job, we have yet to make any kind of impression or mark.  In a new relationship, everything is perfect to the point we wear rose-colored glasses.  Maintaining that high GPA, ideal impression, or happily ever after is another story altogether.

A student’s daily performance dictates the outcome of their grades – their level of engagement during class, study habits and timeliness of assignments.  Discipline is required to ensure that highly coveted 4.0 is maintained.  Small choices add up to the final outcome.

Similarly in our work life, we begin on that first day with a clean slate.  All new employees begin the same way, with the same resources and opportunities to do the job well.  It is simply up to us to fulfill the tasks that make up our role.  How well and how much we do is up to us.

Simply put, how well we perform our job dictates many things – raises, bonuses, promotions, recognition.  Unfortunately, many fail to realize that hard work is part of the recipe for success.  And not only hard work, but smart work that separates ourselves from the pack.  Mediocrity does not build visibility, and visibility is what we want in business.  But visibility alone will not ensure success either because we need to be known as a professional with credibility, reliability and integrity.

Those who understand the unlimited potential on that first day can truly leverage its power.  They know that nothing happens by accident and one cannot be a passenger in life if they want to be successful.  Companies both big and small understand this profoundly well.  They recognize the value that those who market themselves the best will still be in business in 5 years, keeping diligent in their marketing initiatives to ensure the momentum builds.

Whatever it is that you do, do it well.  You may think people don’t notice cut corners or a lack of discipline, but sooner or later the semester will end and the grades will come out. Will you be on the Honor Roll?  Will your business reach another anniversary milestone with increasing profits?  If not, it may be time to reconsider your approach.

Keep it disciplined.

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