Want to Get Ahead? Take the Stairs

Barbara Rozgonyi-Rory Vaden

At a college preview, a sign said: take the stairs, you’ll get a workout and you’ll save energy. So, we did.

At the mall over the weekend, we tried to take the stairs. But, there are no more stairs. There are only elevators and escalators.

According to Rory Vaden, the world’s leading expert, speaker, and author on personal self-discipline, therein lies the problem with a lot of what’s wrong not only with America, but with your business [and maybe your approach to life]: taking shortcuts in attempting to get to the top, a place he knows how to get to.

For a young 26 of man, Rory’s realized stellar success already, including being a world champion public speaking finalist – twice and leading a movement to be more disciplined.

After years of selling children’s books door to door, Rory co-founded Success Starts Now, a leadership and sales training institute.

Anyone who’s ever sold anything door to door can relate to Rory’s stories. I have – and I have to say that even though I dreaded knocking on doors, the lessons I learned in becoming the top-seller in high school served me well as an award-winning sales rep a few years later who revitalized two “dead” territories into the company’s hotter markets. Did I quit? Yes. Did I keep going? Yes. Did I get to the top? Yes.

Those of us who were lucky enough to hear Rory speak at the National Speakers Association Illinois Chapter’s program, experienced samples of two of Rory’s programs: “Take the Stairs” and “No Laughs to Know Laughs: How to be Funny to Make More Money,” which is also a book you can buy – and I did!

Rory graciously agreed to let me share this picture with you as well as my highlights from his talk.

Here, I’ll focus on my takeaways from “Take the Stairs.”

“Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do. The successful people don’t always like these things themselves; they just get on and do them.”
William Makepeace Thackeray

Successful people have the discipline to do the things even when they don’t feel like doing it.

[When I walked into the meeting, one of my newsletter readers greeted me: “Hi newsletter lady! You’re so prolific!” I told her later that knowing I had to get the newsletter out every Thursday was my motivation. Do I always enjoy writing the newsletter? Not if I’m under deadline for another project. Do I feel good every time it goes out? Yes! Is there, ever, an excuse good enough to miss an issue? No.] 

3 Must-Have Habits of Successful People

1 Sacrifice: it’s easy to be disciplined when you’re pursuing something that really matters

Isn’t this so simple and so true? If you’re finding that some things you think you should do aren’t getting done, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if they really matter – to who and to why?

2 Persistence: staying with it and dealing with failure and rejection is part of life

How did you get where you are? Failing is learning is it not?

“Success is never owned, it is only rented and the rent is due every single day. Any commitment made today must be made tomorrow.”  Rory Vaden

3 Action – taking action toward getting what really matters is the difference between people who get what they want out of life and those who stay stuck

One clarifier for me, personally: take action as soon as you can. Do ever delay taking action only to either forget or find it’s too late to be meaningful?

“It doesn’t matter what you say. It matters how you act. It’s the person who makes the sacrifice that gets the gift.” Rory Vaden

The Take the Stairs World Tour

Follow Rory’s adventures to the top of the world’s highest buildings, via the stairs of course, at Rory Vaden’s Take the Stairs Blog.

1. Burj Dubai Tower –700 meters (2297 feet) in Dubai, UAE

2. Toronto CN Tower – 553 meters  (1815 feet) in Toronto, Canada

3. Taipei 101 – 508 meters (1667 feet)  in Taipei, Taiwan

4. Petronas Towers – 452 meters (1483 feet) in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

5. Sears Towers – 442 meters (1454 feet) in Chicago, IL

6. Jin Mao Tower – 421 meters (1380 feet) in Shanghai, China

7. International Finance Centre – 414  meters (1364 feet) in Hong Kong

8. CITIC Plaza – 391 meters (1283 feet) in Taianhe District, Guangzhou, China

9. Shun Hing Square – 384 meters (1260 feet) in Shenzhen, China

10. Empire State Building – 381 meters (1250 feet) in New York City, New York

Professional Speaking in Action

At the end of his presentation, Rory showed us his 2007 national finalist speech. It was so good, I was hoping it was on YouTube. Here it is; visit Rory Vaden’s YouTube channel to watch his collection.

On Being Funny

At the college preview, we did take the elevator when we couldn’t find the stairs. When we got into the even floor elevator, I said “We’re not on the funny elevator.” [Rory says odd numbers are funny, even numbers aren’t.] As my daughter and I smiled, a very distinguished gentleman turned to me and asked, “Where are you from?” He then introduced himself as the college’s vice president. Would we have met him if I wasn’t trying to be funny? Probably not. Thanks Rory!

Your Turn

How important is discipline to what you do?


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