You have no destiny other than your discipline.
Reflecting on the past 8 months, it's obvious now more than ever — adversity finds everyone. But the best opportunities have always favored the most disciplined people. Even through adversity. Especially through adversity.
In the unpredictable environment of the Covid-19 pandemic, business owners are looking for light at the end of the tunnel. Some are thriving, but so many entrepreneurs are fighting to make it through the year with their business intact. It's a personal test as much as a professional one. You need to be patient but you can't afford to be passive. That's why now is the time to for every entrepreneur and business to double-down on discipline. Because your future depends on it.
Why Do Entrepreneurs Need Discipline?
Discipline is the bridge from where you are today to where you want to be in the immediate and long-term future. It's the skill of doing the work, getting that work done, and doing it well. Discipline amplifies talent and brings action to vision. The absence of discipline wastes talent and brings doubt, delay, and distraction. Last month I shared 3 practical examples of how Discipline accelerates results. The stories from that article got a massive response.
Whatever you choose to do now, it's going to require serious discipline. Not that you don't have discipline. You do. Discipline is a skill. Like any skill, the competitive environment will continually test it. Like any skill, discipline needs to evolve and improve.
The more you train for discipline, the better positioned you are to accelerate your results regardless of the circumstances. As discipline scales, so do results. With your current approach to discipline, you might start to get the results you want in two years. What if you doubled your discipline? Now you might get the same, or better, results in 12-to-18 months. We'll talk about how in a minute.
Why is Now the Time for Discipline?
2020 is delivering plenty of reasons for justified excuses. More than usual actually.
When adversity hits, opportunity arrives. The next decade will be shaped by what happens this year. Disciplined business owners understand what this environment means. 2020 is reshaping the landscape of the future. It's killing weak industries faster, pushing innovative industries mainstream sooner, and challenging everyone to operate differently.
2008 triggered incremental change. 2020 is triggering rapid evolution. Then just like now, there were entrepreneurs who seized the opportunity and built incredible businesses. There were also plenty of business owners who couldn't get away from their own fear or out of their old habits. They failed. Either because they missed opportunity or they got disrupted by new businesses that seized their moment.
For us entrepreneurs willing to accept, adapt, innovate, and overcome there has never been a better time to be run a business.
How Do You Build Discipline?
Ok, so you're ready to double down on discipline. How do you even do that?
Discipline might feel more like a concept than a concrete business tool. So I'm giving you four actionable ways to double-down on discipline that are simple to understand and immediate to apply.
1. Just start.
Starting is where the majority either never begins or gets stuck in early doubt. It's easy to come up with ideas. Vision is fun for most entrepreneurs. But ideas are shit. Execution is everything. If you don't start building and keep building, ideas are worthless.
You can't drive a parked car. You don't get great results without making moves. If you don't know where to start, find out and go. It's not time to be indecisive. You can adjust down the road. One good option you execute better than a ton of great options you don't.
2. Focus exclusively on 24 hours of discipline.
People get so worried about sustaining habits. But that's not actually how it works. The only discipline you need to get right is the next 24 hours. That's all it ever is and all it ever can be. If you commit to being disciplined today instead of worrying about being disciplined for three months, you'll be more likely to be disciplined now. If you can be disciplined now, you can be disciplined tomorrow. Eventually three months go by. A year goes by. You get the point.
For the question, "Do I have to be disciplined all the time?" the simple answer is no. Just be disciplined right now.
It's okay when you have a low-discipline day and watch YouTube videos of how to become a scratch golfer (it's not easy, see?). You don't need to wait until next week to begin again with discipline. You can start right away in any moment. Kill the distractions. Cut the noise. Fill your focus.
3. Stay simple.
Complexity destroys your ability to get things done. Think about cars. A car has 30,000 parts and under the hood is an incredibly complex machine. If you tried to build a modern car, the complexity would probably paralyze you. But if you focus on just one part, like an axle or a fuel tank, it's more manageable.
It's like running a business. There's so much complexity that it's not uncommon to get paralyzed. When you consider everything you're trying to decide, manage, and guide, you see hundreds of decisions that need to be made, tasks that need to be completed, and projects that need to be tracked. It's overwhelming. Pressure mounts. Fatigue kicks in. Time disappears. Simplicity is the solution.
More information is not better information. It's more you have to process with more filters. More options aren't better options. It's more you have to evaluate, project, and wonder "what if?".
The more simple you keep it, the faster you can go, the more you can do, and the quicker you can adjust. The more simple you stay the more you can do it again and again and again because of your discipline.
4. Doesn't matter, get better.
You're going to have successes and failures. That's just competition. But did you know that both of them can diminish your discipline?
Failure can derail your discipline when it feels like your effort isn't working. When progress plateaus or even drops, motivation fades and people stop the disciplines that would carry them through the downturn. When you're struggling is obviously not the time to abandon discipline. It's the time to rely on it.
Success can sideline your discipline because you get comfortable and drift onto autopilot. Maybe a little ego and entitlement kicks in too. You become unwilling to adjust or innovate when the environment evolves. Not everything that worked then works now. Too many entrepreneurs fail in the long run after early success because they're unprepared to handle that success they created.
In either outcome, success or failure, it doesn't matter, get better.
Keep moving. Don't let your foot off the gas. Don't wait for motivation. Don't prioritize comfort. Keep your focus sharp. Double-down on discipline.
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