Entrepreneurs: Discipline You Must Have
In brief: be organized and get things done, one thing after the other.
Entrepreneurs are often creative people, excellent at what they do, but sometimes lack the business skills required to run a company.
You may feel that you improvise and find yourself overwhelmed with all the things on your agenda, and the decisions to make, without knowing where to begin.
Amelia Earhart, the American aviation pioneer said: “The most effective way to do it - is to do it.” She was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, so I guess her quote stands true.
My point is: don’t worry, you can always learn the business skills (or hire someone). But you must excel at getting things done. And that requires being disciplined.
Moving is not achieving
Are you sometimes frustrated that you have not been able to make your vision real? Do you ever wonder why you work so hard and still do not attain the satisfaction your efforts deserve? Do you feel you lack discipline?
We always tend to go for the easiest path, because the natural way is not to suffer, not to be in pain. Indeed, why would we want to face adversity and risk being injured?
Let me give you 2 simple examples:
Making a decision. Deciding is difficult because it requires being responsible and taking risks, which are potentially painful. So, it's better not to decide, and instead ask for more time, or find any excuses one can come up with.
Have you noticed how criticizing is always easier than praising? Complimenting someone requires courage while blaming seems so natural. Criticizing is also a way of not doing anything about a specific situation, to remain in a status-quo. Indeed, changing requires effort and potentially challenging yourself, which means potential suffering. Instead, let’s not take risks by blaming others and playing the victim.
So as a result of choosing the easiest way, you may find yourself being busy moving, appearing productive, but not achieving anything (in other words getting things done) because you’re avoiding what really matters.
Obviously, it requires movement to achieve anything. But there is a huge difference between movement and achievement.
Imagine you get enough money to pay for the vacation of your dreams, aren’t you going to make sure that they happen despite the difficulties you may face? So, you see, you can get things done when they matter. It’s just a question of perspective... and discipline.
David Newman, an American Speaker and Author of Do It Marketing! says: “It’s amazing the results you do not get for the work that you do not do”. Having discipline is not about being busy, it’s not about the number of hours you’re putting in… it’s about being focused on what really matters and doing it.
But doing requires courage. So refrain from hiding behind your computer and sitting at your desk. Expose yourself instead. You're an entrepreneur, you don't have the choice.
Also, doing is about making decisions, therefore facing the unknown. Yes, it’s scary, but again, you’re an entrepreneur. It’s part of your job. Accept it because no one can be accountable for yourself.
Switch your Getting Things Done mode on
It requires creating the proper environment around you.
Let me give you 4 practical tips to switch it on.
Build rules for yourself and drastically follow them. For instance, as an entrepreneur, you never really leave work, it’s always there. Do yourself a favor and learn to create boundaries so that you can enjoy life outside work, and mentally recover. One of your rules could therefore be no work on Sundays. Another rule I suggest is to set a process. Start with the easiest or the most difficult tasks depending on which gets you in motion the fastest, and delegate to those who are better than you at doing certain tasks. Rules are the foundation to discipline. You can create all the rules you may deem appropriate but remember to follow them, otherwise, they’re useless.
Give full attention to whatever you are doing. Take some time alone, free from any distractions. Distractions are interruptions and they won't allow you to be fully focused. There are many time management tools such as the Pomodoro technique that you can use to help you.
Train yourself to focus on solutions, not problems. Talking about a problem over and again is easy, like complaining and blaming someone for it. But it’s not efficient at all. Stop wasting your time and energy talking or thinking about problems. Instead, solve them. It will force you to work on concrete actions.
Trust your abilities. Remember doing requires courage. I know you may be afraid, but you WILL figure out a method to get things done. There are many ways to do so. If one action does not work, another will. The most important is to stick to your process.
Entrepreneurs go through a lot of stuff. In the end, what defines how good you are is how committed you are, how consistent you’re with your purpose, and how much discipline you have.
This article is an extract from my special podcast series The Entrepreneur Alphabet. Listen to the episodes on your favorite podcast channel or watch them on YouTube.