Self Discipline: Doing what needs to be done instead of what you want to do. It’s not all that fun and most of us don’t want to do it.
For one thing, self-discipline is hard work. It’s so much easier to ‘shoot from the hip’ or ‘do what you feel.’ Would anyone really notice?
Many people tell me that no one has ever told them that what they are currently doing is all that bad. In fact, most people infer that if no one has told them that their work product is bad, then it’s probably fine. Except they haven’t been told that either!
People who get the job done well, even when the task is not all that enjoyable have developed a mental toughness. It comes from practice, perseverance, and the ability to see that beyond the immediate task is a bigger picture. Going above and beyond; doing what needs to be done, rather than what you want to do, or what seems good enough is what makes the difference between those with self-discipline and those that think they can not only get by, but get ahead, without it:
- A sales manager who is great at selling but doesn’t have the discipline to get performance reviews competed on time.
- The Director who has a lot of valuable information to present and doesn’t think it matter that she her appearance is unkempt and her material is dull and boring.
- An Executive who wants to be seen as an inspiring leader but doesn’t take the time to connect with employees.
So what can you do to muster some self-discipline?
Take responsibility for yourself. Forget about shortcuts to attain your goals. If you want to make an impact, own your objectives.
Clarify your goals. It’s easy to get off track without clear goals to aim for. Periodically review where you are going and the route you are taking to get there.
Take small and manageable steps. Rather than focus on the ultimate destination, start with one small thing you can accomplish. Success is built on success.
Pat attention to the details; they matter. People notice the details and you should too. Not just every now and then but always. Think about successful brands and ask if they ever are not exactly what you ex0pect. Consistency takes discipline but when done daily, becomes a habit.
Be an example to others. Coworkers notice what you are doing so decide if you want to be notices for being disciplined and a consistent performer or not.
Manage your time well. Get organized. It’s an indication that you are in control. Returning calls, arriving on time, being prepared send the message that you are on top of things.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Celebrate success. Your efforts will pay off so make sure to enjoy the steps along the way as well as the larger goals you have set.
People often tease folks who have self-discipline: they are consistent, prepared, thoughtful, and purposeful.