Pump the Well

On this episode of my Monday Morning Pep Talk,  I will discuss the moment that I realized that consistent action would be my competitive advantage.

In 2010,  Darren Hardy published a book,  "The Compound Effect" which has had a seismic impact on my life and business.  In the early stages of teaching  "Take Flight",  I made it a mandatory reading assignment.  In 2010,  I was still deep in my "rebuild" and "The Compound Effect" outlined the philosophy of creating consistent effort over a long period of time which I immediately connected with primarily because I understood it an it was low cost, high impact and easy to implement.  I was used to getting up and going to work every day.

You will find in your self development and life journey that there are "mile markers", those moments that you remember vividly.  The mile markers might be when you have a business breakthrough or a breakdown, maybe you received a meaningful piece of advice from a mentor or a read a book that impacted how you think.  On this call,  I will read an excerpt from "The Compound Effect"  that was a mile marker for me.  Hardy uses the "Pump Well" analogy to describe what can happen if you stay consistent and also what happens when you don't.  This analogy really hit home for me because I grew up in a rural area and I experienced in real time the "pump well" .

You'll find this in the book in Chapter 4: Momentum

“When you start thinking about slacking off on your routines and rhythms, consider the massive cost of inconsistency. It is not the loss of the single action and tiny results it creates; it is the utter collapse and loss of momentum your entire progress will suffer.  Think of a hand-pumped water well,  which uses a pipe to draw water up from the water table several feet underground. To get the water to the surface, you have to pump the well’s lever to create the suction that brings the water above the ground and out of the spout."

“Consistency is the key to achieving and maintaining momentum.”

“When most people start a new endeavor, they grab the lever and start pumping really hard. Just as Richard was with his plan to get fit, they’re excited and committed… they pump and pump and pump, but after a few minutes (or a few weeks), when they don’t see any water (results), they give up pumping the lever altogether. They don’t realize how long it takes to create the vacuum needed to suck the water into the pipe and eventually out of the spout and into their bucket. Just like the merry-go-round, rocket ship, or steam engine breaking free of inertia, it takes time, massive energy and consistency to pump water. Most people give up, but wise people continue to pump."

"Those who persevere and continue to pump the lever will eventually get a few drops of water. This is when a lot of people say, “You’ve got to be kidding me! All this pumping, and for what—a few measly drops? Forget it!” Many people throw their hands up in defeat and quit, but wise people persist further.

And here’s where the magic happens: If you continue to pump, it doesn’t take long before you’ll get a full and steady stream of water. You have your success! Now that the water is flowing, you no longer need to pump the lever as hard or as quickly. It becomes easy, actually. All you have to do to keep the pressure steady is to just pump the lever consistently.  That’s the Compound Effect."  (Side Note:  In Take Flight,  I call this 30,000 feet)

"Now, what happens if you let go of the lever for too long? The water falls back down into the ground, and you’re back to square one. If you try to pump the lever easily and steadily, you won’t get any water. Momentum is gone; water is at the bottom. The only way to get it back up is to pump it really hard all over again. That’s how most of us lead our lives, in fits and starts. We get a new business venture going, and then cut out on vacation. We start up a routine of making ten prospecting calls a day, strike a little gold, and then shift into neutral. We get hopped up about our new “date night” routine with our spouse, but in a few weeks, it’s back to Netflix and microwave popcorn on the couch Friday nights. I see people buy a new book, sign up for a new program or seminar, and go like crazy for a couple of weeks or months. Then they stop and end up right back where they started. (Sound familiar?)"

"Miss only a couple weeks of anything—workouts at the gym, affectionate gestures toward your spouse, or the phone calls that are part of your prospecting routine—and you don’t just lose the results those two weeks would have produced. If that’s all you lost (which is what most people assume), not much damage would be done. But by slacking off for even a short time, you killed momentum. It’s dead. And that’s a tragedy."

"Winning the race is all about pace. Be the tortoise. The person who, given enough time, will beat virtually anybody in any competition as a result of positive habits and behaviors applied consistently. That’ll put the mojo in your momentum. And keep it there!"

"Making the right choice, holding to right behaviors, practicing perfect habits, staying consistent, and keeping your momentum is easier said than done, especially in the dynamic, constantly changing, and always challenging world we share with billions of other people.  When I read this chapter back in 2010,  it shifted my mindset immediately keeping me focused on what worked.  This chapter made the point that if I would just stay consistent with the strategies that I had proven to work over a long period of time,  I would win.  I bought into it.  It made sense to me.  It worked.  Not only did it work, but I doubled my business 4 times in 5 years in the heart of a real estate recession.  Point proven.

So when I think about today's market and the normalization that we've seen this summer,  I have one major concern for all of you.  I fear for the momentum you've created over the last 2 years and I'm not necessarily talking about production.  I'm talking about a normalization of the market pushing you back to your old, unproductive habits.  I don't want you to stop pumping the well. If there was ever time where momentum will be crucial, it's now.  Not only will you need to maintain your momentum,  but you will need to increase your marketing skills and your database and relationship management processes to compete in this market at a high level.

So, if you are finding that you are losing your momentum, pump the well.  I've had to talk some of you off the ledge because this normalizing market has you feeling uneasy.  You equate a slower pace to impending doom.  Not the case.  If you feel this way, condense your day. "Pump that well" like crazy before 2:00 p.m. and take the rest of the day off ("with intention"). Go do the things that you were disappointed that you couldn't do during the summers of 2020 and 2021.  You've also got to realize that if you are feeling super uneasy,  it's more about the quality of your systems, processes, habits and routines than it is the changing market.  Those without a plan, those that are not executing are the most stressed.  If you are in need of a plan, identify what has worked for you in the past and go pump the well and keep pumping. Markets like this are perfect and highly productive for well-pumpers.

For those of you on my email list, you'll get the recording, notes with links to supporting articles and podcasts and tomorrow morning.  If you'd like to subscribe, just email my team at [email protected] and they'll add you.