The Importance of Non-Negotiables

Setting yourself up for success—both personally and professionally—starts with cultivating self-discipline and holding yourself accountable. The most effective rules, after all, are the ones you set for yourself.

Non-negotiables and the importance of setting them

For me, a huge part of making sure I’m achieving everything I want to do in this life is sticking to those self-set rules, which I call my non-negotiables. These are the key things that I know I must do in both my work and personal life to reach the goals I’ve set for myself. Stick to your guns on these, and you’ll see that over time, your routine will become habit and you’ll be powering towards reaching those cherished goals.

These are the items that get done, no matter what:

My Personal and Business Non-Negotiables

1. I move for five miles, every day.

For me to continue to achieve my fitness goals, I have accepted and embraced that I need to move my body every single day. I typically walk or run three miles in the morning and then take a two-mile walk each night. Committing to doing this every day and making it a requirement keeps my body and mind feeling healthy and fit. It shapes my daily habits (like my morning routine), but it’s more than that—since I’ve made it a non-negotiable, I have to find creative ways to achieve it, even when I travel or have other circumstances that might disrupt my typical morning. When I have a layover at an airport, I don’t sit—I move. I’ll go out of my way to find lunch plans within walking distance, etc. Instead of feeling like tasks or chores, these things feel more like opportunities to kill two birds with one stone.

2. I have a date night with my husband every week during the week.

I always say that if you really want to know what’s most important to someone, just look at their checkbook and their calendar. When you start to make lame excuses like, “We never have time for date night,” then you’re on the edge of a slippery slope. Making time for the people you love is vital to cultivating a successful life. We have date night on our calendars for every Tuesday night. And if I have to travel, then we have to move things around and schedule it for another night during that week. Quality time with Shane is a non-negotiable for me because, in order to make my relationship with my husband work, he remains my top priority.

3. I prospect for at least four hours each week.

Non-negotiables for business—especially salespeople—should always be tied back to your Income Producing Activities. Examine your daily workload first. Then, look at your list of IPAs and determine which ones you need to attack on a weekly basis to achieve your sales goals. When we get too busy, prospecting can be the most natural thing to get pushed off your calendar (because the results are often not immediately seen). Having some prospecting activities as non-negotiable helps me keep other more urgent things from short-changing my future results.

4. I attend one networking event each week.

There are two reasons why I network weekly. First of all, I’m an extrovert who needs to be around people. When I’m in Nashville, I most commonly work from my home office. So networking helps fill my “need for people” bucket.

The second reason? Networking is a great income producing activity. I use my WOW Statement, share the success stories of my clients, and meet new prospects face-to-face. Setting a follow-up meeting is much easier once I’ve met someone in person.

Don’t Forget Balance

When crafting your own list of non-negotiables, don’t have so many or make them so big that the list becomes overwhelming or unachievable. You really want to whittle this list down to the very essence of what you need to do to be successful.

And being successful isn’t just about business, after all. With the go, go, go mentality of sales, it’s easy for personal relationships and personal health/fitness to become collateral damage to a career. But ultimately, what does it mean to be successful as a salesperson if you’re not successful as a person?

The importance of maintaining a Balanced Life makes so much sense, and yet we perpetually ignore its value and make excuses about why it won’t work for us. If you really examine each life pillar (The Heart, The Mind, The Body, and The Spirit), you’ll quickly identify the most vital things to keep each in balance and good standing. Use that information to set these non-negotiable tasks, ensuring that your life not only stays balanced but ultimately leads to fulfillment and success.

Remember—you are the master of your destiny and it’s ultimately up to you to chart the course you want your life to take. Creating some non-negotiables can be a key ingredient to living the life you want to live.

Until next time—go sell some stuff!


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