207. I am my story.

The experts tell us we are the product of the stories we tell ourselves.

And if there is one thing we humans have in common, it is that we do indeed tell ourselves stories.

Every thought, decision, judgement and resolution becomes a piece of our story and we sculpt ourselves to fit that story.

The power of our stories was brought home to me some time ago when my wife Gimalle, and I were having dinner with friends. Over the course of the evening the topic of discussion turned to sleep habits and our host shared with us his difficulties in being able to sleep through the night.

He explained that while he has no problem whatsoever in falling asleep, staying asleep has been elusive since his early 20s. He told us he has tried countless remedies, all to no avail. He falls asleep and then wakes up between four and five hours later and is unable to go back to sleep.

Years of this experience have taught him to expect this each night, and he has managed to easily meet his expectations.

Sleeping for four or five hours each night would not be a problem if he woke up refreshed, energized and ready to start his day. Alas, this is not his experience and he told us that he constantly fights fatigue throughout each day.

Many years ago Norman Cousins, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author of the best-selling book, Anatomy of an Illness, delivered a speech titled Belief Becomes Biology to an audience assembled at a medical convention. He spoke at length of patients about to undergo surgery and the degree to which the speed and ease of their recovery was dependent on their beliefs – the stories they were telling themselves – prior to the surgery.

Without exception, those who believed their recovery would be slow, painful and troublesome experienced post-surgery pain and discomfort resulting in longer stays in the hospital than those who went into surgery believing they would recover rapidly, easily and generally without pain or discomfort.

He illustrated that the stories we tell ourselves become the realities we experience. I asked my host what he thought might happen if he began telling himself a story of sleeping through the night.

We talked of the need to tell and retell the story often as the old one was firmly entrenched deeply within his belief system. Somewhat reluctantly and, despite a great deal of cynicism, he agreed.

Several weeks passed and I called to ask if he was making any progress. He acknowledged that progress was slow however, he was pleased to report that three nights prior to my call he had, for the first time in years, enjoyed eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Today, some five months after our dinner, eight hours’ sleep has become the norm for my friend although, on occasion, he will wake up after approximately five hours. He proudly stated that on those nights, despite having only five hours’ sleep, he now wakes up energized, recharged and refreshed.

He has become a true devotee of The Habit of Telling Ourselves Good Stories and proudly shares how he has used the same storytelling method to address many other areas in his life.

A friend of mine recently explained why The Habit of Telling Ourselves Good Stories is so essential to our well-being. He pointed out that we all tell ourselves stories anyway so adopting The Habit of Telling Ourselves Good Stories makes perfect sense because, as he put it, “if we’re going to tell ourselves stories anyway, we will may as well tell ourselves good ones.”

Who can argue with logic like that?

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

206. One more equals much more.

 

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Eliot

The Habit of Doing One More most certainly nudges us in the direction of this famous quote.

I have yet to encounter one person who has made The Habit of Doing One More a part of their daily routine and who has not been pleasantly surprised by all this habit has brought them.

And of the many adherents to this habit I have spoken with, all have confided in me the one factor that has driven them to this practice: an unquenchable determination to achieve a goal.

In fact, as I think back to the many interviews I’ve conducted with people who have achieved phenomenal success, they have all, in one form or another, relied heavily on The Habit of Doing One More to help propel them to the great results they produced.

Of interest to me were the stories I have heard of how frequently doing “just one more” led to consistently two more or three more or simply “a whole bunch more.”

The link between effort and result has been long-established. There are few who doubt the common themes shared by the truly successful include: long hours, extraordinary effort, unshakable conviction, sacrifice and, perhaps most important, a willingness to absorb pain and discomfort today in order to reap the benefits and enjoy great pleasure tomorrow.

The Habit of Doing One More is not a now-and-again undertaking. It is a way of life that flows into everything for those who allow nothing less than excellence into their lives.

We have in the past spoken of those who are watching the game versus those who are in the game. We know that the fans in the stands, as committed as they are to supporting, and cheering for their team, are having an experience far different from those in the field taking the hits and then getting up, battered and bruised, ready for the next play.

Those who practice The Habit of Doing One More are the ones on the field, playing the game. Regardless of how many hits they have taken, their willingness to do one more is their way of telling the world they are still in the game and still on the offensive.

Please allow me to invite you to consider this challenge. We are close to that time of year when many make New Year’s resolutions only to see them broken by noon on January 1.

My invitation is this. Make an unbreakable pledge to yourself that in every area of your life in which you are striving, or seeking, to grow or to enhance, you will apply The Habit of Doing One More to every action connected to the goal you would like to achieve.

Promise yourself to do this unfailingly, and with no exceptions, for the first three months of the year and keep accurate and precise records of what this brings.

It is both my fervent belief and my prediction that if you take up this challenge, you will not only be astounded and delighted on March 31, you will hold on to this habit as tightly as you can and never let go.

Because doing just one more will bring you so much more.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

205. What a difference one more can make.

Fred,  a long-time acquaintance, told me he credited The Habit of Doing One More with changing his life in ways he never imagined possible.

He first learned of The Habit of Doing One More from his high school football coach who drilled this habit into the minds of those young players at every practice. Whatever drill was in play he always insisted on “just one more” before moving on to the next thing.

That was many years ago and Fred had long forgotten the remarkable gains to be had by just doing one more.

Thirty years passed since his last football practice and Fred’s weight had grown by approximately 5 pounds for each of those years. He reached the point where everything was difficult and painful and his family doctor informed him that, based on family history, continuing his current lifestyle would almost assuredly land him in a hospital or, worse, a grave.

At age 47 Fred came to the sad realization that massive change in his lifestyle was no longer optional. He committed to walking at least 20 minutes a day and quickly learned, to his horror, that walking once around the entire block where he lived left him fatigued and breathless.

By the third or fourth day as he was completing his walk and was just about to enter his home, Coach Joel’s voice bounded into his head urging him to do “just one more.”

Fred was exhausted and his legs felt as if they were on fire and yet the moment he heard Coach Joel’s voice the memories of those glory football days flooded through him and, as dead tired as he felt, he forced himself to walk around the block one more time.

And thus was born a new habit. As the days turn into weeks and then into months Fred set out each day on his walk, increasing the distance every few days.

And regardless of how far he had walked, even after his daily outing was exceeding 5 miles, he would, upon his return, do just one more around the block for Coach Joel.

At the same time, he began a disciplined eating routine. Initially he committed to following that program for three weeks before allowing himself a few days reprieve while simultaneously treating himself to some of his old favourites.

Strangely though, at the end of the first three weeks as he was contemplating how best to reward himself for a job well done he once again heard Coach Joel’s voice reminding him to do just one more.

And so he decided to stay on the program for one more week and yet somehow at the end of that week he convinced himself to do one more week and then one more week and, in between doing one more week and walking around the block one more time, he also pushed himself to do one more of everything else he was doing.

Nine months after he began Fred stepped on a scale and discovered, to his delight, that The Habit of Doing One More had greatly assisted him in removing just under 120 pounds from his frame.

And he felt fantastic and energetic and healthy and, in his own words, “my coat was shining for the first time in years.”

Since then Fred has adopted The Habit of Doing One More into everything he does. When a customer turns him down he never leaves without making one more attempt to close the sale.

When negotiating over the price of a new car his “one more offer” allowed him to save an additional $1200 off the price, and whenever he is in disagreement or at odds with anyone he always makes one more attempt at reconciliation.

Fred chuckles as he tells of how The Habit of Doing One More extended into spending a little more time – one extra minute twice a day – brushing his teeth and how this activity translated in into his dentist complimenting him on his dental health.

It may not seem like much to do “just one more,” but Fred is an enthusiastic advocate for what he describes as something that takes so little time and produces such enormous benefits.

Perhaps we should all consider gift wrapping The Habit of Doing One More and presenting it to ourselves on Christmas morning.

It may well turn out to be the most valuable gift we have ever received.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

204. Just one more.

Imagine you are a salesperson.

Your job is to sell a product or service and you are responsible for finding your own customers.

One of the recommended ways of doing so is to make cold calls.

You hate making cold calls. They are stomach churning, gut grinding, tedious, rejection filled and distasteful.

And like many in your profession, for all the above-mentioned reasons, you do everything you can to avoid them.

Then one day your boss approaches you with a proposition: every time you make a cold call and reach someone, he will dig into his pocket and give you $139.60. No questions asked.

By simply dialing the phone 10 times each day you would go home with $1,396.00 in your pocket.

Every day.

Would that incentive help you in overcoming your resistance to making these calls?

One year ago, I introduced a client of mine – a realtor – to The Habit of Doing One More.

We all know there is an inextricable link between effort and reward and my recommendation to my client was this: at the end of each day, before packing up and going home, with coat on and keys in hand, as your last function of the day, pick up the phone and make one more call.

That’s it – on top of everything else you have done that day, make just one more call.

And she did. And she tracked the results from the first one more call on January 4, 2016 to the final one on Monday afternoon as she was walking out of the office and preparing to leave on a three-week vacation.

She made a total of 227 one more calls.

And the results astounded her.

These calls resulted in her having follow-up calls and/or meetings with 14 people she may never have met had she not made those calls.

Those 14 introductions resulted in closing three additional deals earning her an added $31,680 in commissions.

Which translates into a value of $139.60 for each of those extra calls she made.

And she is pumped. So much so that not only will she continue The Habit of Doing One More in 2017, but she has decided to change it a little so that it becomes the Habit of Doing Two More.

In sharing her story with me, she told me she would never have believed that by extending each workday by less than five minutes, she could add more than $30,000 to her annual income or, as she put it, “give myself more than a 25% raise.”

The Habit of Doing One More it is not for the exclusive use of salespeople. It is there for all to use and all it takes is desire, determination and effort.

It requires being serious about reaching your goals.

It means wanting something so badly that you will always go the extra mile to get it. And, as my friend pointed out with an impish smile, the greatest lesson of all, regardless of how many times you hear the word no, for each 14 yes’s you hear, you get to go home with an extra $31,680.

And that makes the pain of all those no’s eminently bearable.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.