When you come into work each morning, how do you prepare yourself for the day ahead and stay motivated for the longer perspective of your career? Levo sat down in Office Hours with Rory Vaden (Co-Founder of Southwestern Consulting, Self-Discipline Strategist, and New York Times Bestselling Author of Take the Stairs) to find out the best ways to stay personally disciplined over the course of your career. He shared the overall themes of his book and one habit that he found key to staying ready for anything new that might come your way.

As research for his book, Vaden interviewed successful people in various fields and found that all of them had made a habit of doing the things they knew they should be doing for the long run, even if they didn’t feel like it in the short-term. The book recorded seven key distinctions regarding the way these self-disciplined people viewed their careers.

Take the Stairs is all about being brilliant at the basics, which can build your career and set your professional skills apart from the pack. Vaden was inspired to share one specific principle after being kept waiting nearly an hour after a scheduled appointment with his doctor. He explained the importance of creating integrity and being where and what you say you are. People notice this trait, he said. Integrity helps build you up as a hirable or promotable candidate before you even look for those advancements in your career.

Integrity is built on simple principles:

  • Think it
  • Speak it
  • Act it
  • It happens

The incredible power of integrity is that it elevates your power. More integrity lends itself to more power, Vaden said, adding that this trait makes people want to help you in all aspects of your life.

Adding integrity to your career can be done in five simple steps:

  1. Give yourself “Actions Required” which are simple to-dos that you promise yourself to do each day and do them
  2. Show up on time always, one of the most basic aspects of being brilliant at the basics
  3. Always over deliver on what you commit yourself to do for others
  4. Don’t over-exaggerate your accomplishments and never commit any form of intellectual dishonesty. This can rob you of confidence in your own successes in which you should take power
  5. Never gossip; complaining about anything to anyone who can’t rectify the problem perpetuates the bad and deflates our own integrity.

Vaden also underscored the importance of focus instead of striving for work-life balance. Short bursts of focus on one thing lend themselves to longterm relaxation, key in the early stages of any career. Don’t err on the side of balance, but rather toward focus and discipline, he said. A small period of imbalance and sacrifice in one direction will pay off exponentially.

Accomplishing this integrity, and all steps in Vaden’s book, require a shift in your perspective, he said, something you should learn first in your career. It’s about realizing that committing to the easy short-term difficult choices to benefit in the long term.

Procrastination and indulgence are nothing more than creditors who charge you interest,” Vaden said.

Through all of these steps, it’s important to have faith, Vaden said, adding that this is built through trust that what happens is better for something later on. This principle of faith should lead you through failure, setbacks, and tragedies, he said. In the longer term, most setbacks don’t have to negatively define you.

Behind your self discipline, Vaden said you should remember “success is never owned. Success is only rented and the rent is due every day.”

Watch Rory Vaden’s Office Hours below: