As a 13-year-old young man, I had the dream job. I was an entrepreneur. An independent business owner. I set my own work hours, I focused on a high service level and utilized a systematized advanced collection system.
I was a paper boy for The Dallas Times Herald. A contractor responsible for serving the clients, creating new clients also known as new subscribers and collecting my accounts receivable.
The high service level was my ability to throw the paper accurately from my Schwinn Super Sport 10 gear bicycle and my aim was to “porch” every paper.
The systemized advanced collection system? I bought a rubber stamp with my name and address and would stamp a blank envelope and include it with my paper that was delivered on the Friday closest to the month end. Included in the envelope was an invoice and instructions on how to pay with a check and mail to me by the 1st of the month.
When my manager found out about my “collection system”, he chastised me for not being attentive to my customers and told me I could not use it.
I had been using it for nearly three months and had seen the success of having nearly 65% of my client send me checks in the mail eliminating the dreaded door to door collection. Going door to door was very ineffective and a complete waste of time for a 13-year-old.
I kept my collection system and realized at a young age that not everyone was ready for changes in how “the system” worked.
What I didn’t understand was the discipline that having a paper route required. It was expected that you would have the afternoon paper out by 6:00 PM and the Sunday paper by 6:00 AM. I adhered to those expectations and never thought twice about it. Yet it was the built-in discipline that defined whether my entrepreneurial job would be a success or a failure.
In my Summer Reading, I read The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande This book has important applications to every aspect of life; personal and business.
In the last few pages of the book Gawande writes:
“Discipline is hard—harder than trustworthiness and skill and perhaps even than selflessness. We are by nature flawed and inconsistent creatures. We can’t even keep from snacking between meals. We are not built for discipline. We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at.”
We see the lack of self-discipline every day in our life. Whether it impacts you immediately or it takes longer, it remains the constant daily struggle for all of us.
Financial discipline requires the ability to follow a process and avoid emotional responses that create inconsistency. Our role as advisors is to assist in defining and guiding our clients toward remaining disciplined toward their life goals.
Every day you punch your own ticket towards your future on the train of life.
Are you advancing towards your goals or merely riding life’s merry go round in a never-ending circle of confusion?
Tell me where you are in your journey.
Michael Tannery CPA CDFA® AIF® ● CEO
Be A Financial Olympian