Recently I helped my daughter clean out her room. (It was a full-day activity.) I do this periodically with my kids, and help them re-establish where everything goes. We also eliminate excess things that don’t have a place (which is what led to the problem in the first place.)
However this time we’re also doing something else. In addition to her nice new clean room, I’m also helping her establish new habits by doing a review of the room every night. Before she goes to bed we look around and make sure everything has been put back where it belongs. When she’s not sure where something goes, we review the organization system we set up. And I’ve noticed that, for the first time, the room is staying clean. That more and more, she is starting to put things back on her own. And she feels better about her room. She’s proud to show it to people.
And it got me to thinking about discipline. We all need it if we want to be successful in business. And it’s more than just a state of mind. We have to create the systems that support the discipline we’re trying to establish.
Here’s another example…last spring I started running. I do it nearly every morning, and I’m up to about 3 miles per day. I’ve always tried to stick to exercise systems before, but they never lasted for more than a month or two, because I didn’t enjoy them. But now I look forward to my morning runs, and plan my morning routine around them.
What’s different this time?
Well first, I run with my dog. And it gives her incredible joy. All I need to do is mention the word “walk” in the morning, and she starts jumping around in circles for joy, urging me to hurry up and get out the door. If my willpower is wavering a bit that morning, in a strong moment I’ll mention “walk” and then there’s no choice but to get up and go. She’ll be all over me until I do it.
And I see the difference it’s made in her. We all put on a bit of weight this past winter (it was a long, cold winter.) Now she’s back to the beautiful, sleek, healthy animal we rescued several years ago. And that makes me (and her) happy.
It’s also made a difference in me. I feel better. I’m not tired. And I’m losing weight. My clothes are fitting better. People are starting to notice. It feels good.
But notice…if I relied solely on willpower to get out the door, I’m not sure I would have stayed so consistent. It would have been a lot harder. Instead, I’ve got an extra system to motivate me…my dog.
We can do it in our businesses too.
- If you need more discipline to pick up the phone, find an accountability partner. Commit to a certain number of calls each day, and hold each other accountable to do it.
- If you want to hold 2-3 parties per week, then block it out in your calendar, and plan your entire routine around the fact that you will be working then. Don’t just fit your parties in when you have spare time. Plan ahead and you’ll be more likely to fill those dates. (The same goes for opportunity interviews.)
- If you want to earn a certain income level, plan to use that money for something that affects your family (like school tuition or a vacation.) If it’s necessary for you to earn the income, you’re a lot more likely to do what it takes.
Yes, discipline is important. But discipline with systems to support it is discipline that lasts.
What systems have you built to encourage discipline in your business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.