As many of you know, our company’s brand line is, “Do what you do better.” Francis Hare, of Hare Communications, came up with that line nearly 17 years ago. It still defines our brand today, and it’s how many of our clients introduce us: “This is the guy I told you about who is helping us do what we do better.”

I recently gave a talk where I asked everyone, “Are you doing what you do better?” Many of them nodded yes. Then I asked them a follow-up question, “Are you better than you are doing?” Most everyone looked a little perplexed.

I think most of us gauge our success on a score—income, number of clients, size of our business, etc.—that shows us (and anyone else who’s paying attention) that we’re doing what we do better. We often don’t consider the fact that we can do better, even, than that. Maybe we should look at indicators of success a little differently.

When things are going well, we sometimes skip doing the hard stuff. Over the years, I’ve seen this from lots of different people working in a variety of industries. No one is immune. And it has nothing to do with laziness. Here’s an example:

I was coaching a real estate person during the great recession. I believe this was in 2008 when deals were few and far between. There just wasn’t much going on except for people giving up some of the space they were currently leasing or others looking to sub-lease space they no longer needed. That’s because companies were shrinking.

This client and I focused a lot on a calling and follow-up system. While he was not a natural new-business salesperson, this guy worked long and hard at building new relationships and utilizing a regular “drip program.” He was organized and had a great follow-up system. He identified and was following up with 100 to 150 new relationships in hopes of landing future clients. At the end of the year, the results were not that great. (Deals take time.) And his income was down compared to previous years. At first glance, he wasn’t doing better, but I had no doubt that he was definitely getting better.

Fast forward to today.

The economy is much improved, and this same client’s pipeline of new opportunities is full. Deals are abundant. The phone is ringing, and clients are coming to him! His income is way up. That calling and follow-up program he worked so hard at nearly a decade ago is a thing of the past. From his perspective (and that of others) he’s more successful today than he was then.

Here’s the thing though:  His results are better, but his selling habits, skills and activities were much better in 2008 because he was actively and constantly working on them.

In good and prosperous times, we often forget about the fundamentals. We get complacent. Many of us treat the fundamentals of success like a diet or exercise program. We follow along for a while, but then we stop working so diligently or maybe even stop doing it altogether. Think about my now-quite-successful real estate client. If he had continued that strict calling and follow-up program during more prosperous times, there’s no telling what he would be achieving today. His results and success would be truly amazing!

Top salespeople, executives and professionals work at getting better all the time. They make it part of their everyday routine. This constant striving for success becomes part of their business DNA.

I recently read a definition of hell that goes like this:  “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”

I challenge you not to just do what you do better. Get better than you ever imagined by making sure you do your best every single day and then keep doing it!