Entrepreneurship is not only a skill set but a mind set. A big part of that entrepreneurial mind set is self-discipline.
To accomplish the things you have never done before, you have to do things differently, change your habits, learn to manage yourself and improve discipline. This is what takes a high level of entrepreneurial self-discipline and personal growth.
Highly self-disciplined entrepreneurs:
Follow through on ideas and commitments to self and others.
Are persistent in their work routines.
Prioritise extremely well.
Are efficient at completing tasks that need to be done and out of the way on a daily basis.
Focus on the task at hand and do not allow them self to be distracted from their planned work.
Systematise routine work so they can spend their prime time on critical activities.
Delegate routine tasks that don’t need their entrepreneurial expertise.
Put in the time necessary to get the job done.
Record and analyse their progress
Entrepreneurs who LACK self-discipline:
Are easily distracted.
Struggle with consistent action.
Are disorganised in their work.
Have no established work plans or routines.
Forget tasks and miss appointments and deadlines.
Fail to track their activities and results.
Have difficulty executing.
Below are the strategies I have used to hone not only my entrepreneurial self-discipline but also increase discipline in other areas of my life so that I can grow and get the most out of everything I like to do!
First, How to Understand Self-Discipline
To get a better understanding of how discipline works in your life try this:
Write the name of a person you know who possesses great discipline?
Describe the evidence for choosing this person?
Outline where you lack self-discipline?
Write your own definition of the Self-Discipline success factor?
Now describe how you can apply this self-discipline in your life?
How You Can Practice Self-Discipline
Now that you understand more about self-control and have a clearer picture of how it might work for you as an entrepreneur, it is time to practice what you have learned by creating specific affirmations for self-discipline and spending time visualising that it is already creating success for you.
An example of an affirmation focused on a self-disciplined entrepreneur is:
“Day by day I am building the foundations of a business that will bring me long-term success”.
If you identified areas that you lack discipline then try writing an affirmation for each one.
For example: If you lack discipline in getting the most important tasks completed on a daily basis:
“First thing every workday I complete the most important tasks and don’t allow myself to be distracted”.
“I set work priorities on a daily basis and stick to them”
“My systematic way of planning every workday is paying off in productivity”.
Remember to keep them short and simple and to phrase them in the present tense as though you were describing your current reality.
How You Can Create a Daily Practice of Entrepreneurial Self-Discipline
Now that you have written and visualised your affirmations, the next step is to practice them regularly until they become second nature to you.
Adhering to the following steps will greatly increase your ability to incorporate and apply self-discipline successfully in your life as an entrepreneur.
Set your intention, affirm and visualise.
Take a few moments at the beginning and ending of each day to write your affirmations down repeatedly (at least 10 times).
This sets your intention to incorporate them into your life, and visualise yourself happily applying them.
I find the best way to do this is in a journal where I can also make notes of any additional thoughts.
Review it daily to make sure you are on track. Reassess, Reward, Revise, And Repeat!
After practicing your affirmations for a few weeks, reassess how you are doing on the core behaviours of your self-discipline. If you feel that you now use all aspects of the core behaviours effectively, reward yourself. If you need more work, write a new affirmation to target the core behaviours that are still weak. Then begin the cycle again.
The secret to rewarding yourself is to make it something that is beneficial to succeeding further. I used to train under the guidance of a very wise holistic personal trainer Dave Cheyne who would always say...
“why is it that when we reward ourselves, we treat ourselves with something like an unhealthy meal? Doesn’t it make much more sense to reward yourself with a healthy meal?”
Those comments have stuck with me. Why undo your hard work with something that is going to take you back a step. Sometimes it only takes one area of your life to destroy the discipline in all the other areas of your life.
One way in which Dave’s comment resonated with me the most was the amount of alcohol I was consuming. Binge drinking is certainly a culture where I grew up. Through our 20’s a lot of us make the most of living a very social lifestyle but at the expense of a lot of personal growth, productivity and achievements.
This area of my life is where I lacked the most self-discipline, an area that took me the longest to hone and an area that let me down the most because of my lack of self-restraint.
When we are young the world is your oyster and it’s then that we really have the opportunity to try things and head in any direction we choose. Yet we decide that going out late, drinking excessively and socialising is our biggest priority, all while expecting something great to happen.
Well guess what I never found it there and most never do.
Great opportunities only present themselves when you have the discipline to:
Take Action Consistently
Hold only yourself accountable!
The end result is 10x more personal growth and the skills to manage yourself with every opportunity that does arrive.
Without honing your entrepreneurial discipline, opportunities will slip by without you even noticing.
Nothing Will Happen Without Execution and Consistent Action
In the early stages of entrepreneurship you may not know where to go next. So you either search for the wrong information or you aren’t time efficient enough in finding the right information and during that time waste energy and learning capacity by taking in the wrong or useless information.
Without commitment you’ll never start, but without consistency you’ll never finish.
The greatest entrepreneurs filter through information to find the right content to self educate and do so at a phenomenal speed. These entrepreneurs are like a sponge, they soak up all the good stuff and put it to use immediately.
This skill won’t happen overnight but as you develop discipline as an entrepreneur you will gain a knack for knowing exactly what to do next and how to find exactly what you need to self teach so that you can go further in the right direction.
I am fortunate that my business partner Dane Shelford is one of these entrepreneurs. With his ability to filter through information and take in all the important pieces of gold at a great speed, he can provide a lot of valuable direction and insight.
Surround yourself with these types of people and learn all you can from them. Remember people with entrepreneurial drive and discipline have high self-esteem, which enables them to ask for help without embarrassment.
Make a practice of seeking help and advice whenever you can and in particular whenever you get bogged down or you encounter a seemingly difficult obstacle. Test your ideas with others to get help in thinking them through and to gain support.
More Tips for Developing Self-Discipline
Observe a person whose self-discipline you admire. Talk with this person about his or her attitudes towards work. Ask to see the tools that he or she uses to manage time, administrative activities and collaboration.
Use a planning calendar to set priorities and to plan and record your daily and monthly activities.
Hold yourself accountable to your plan.
Plan an effective office routine and make it a habit. Begin work early every day and aim for creating a common pattern for each week. Some people including myself do this by planning an ideal work week schedule.
Keep your office and desk neat, well organised, and free of distractions. Make a place for everything and keep everything in its place.
Say “no” to distractions.
In your journal, write about some common “time wasters” in your daily schedule, then create a plan to eliminate them. Use the extra time to devote to activities that promise the best return on your time and effort.
When you catch yourself being self-disciplined, give yourself some credit! Take the time to experience how good you feel about what you have done and encourage yourself to do it again.
Think of some times in the past when you have shown self-discipline. Try to identify common elements in those experiences. Seek opportunities for similar experiences in the future.
Become aware of your self-talk and make an effort to eliminate any negative thoughts that erode your discipline. Consciously substitute one of your affirmations and repeat it over and over instead.
Increasing discipline in one aspect of your life triggers a flow on effect to other areas in your life. Starting small is the key and when you start to see the benefits of the increased discipline you have created you will gain momentum and seek higher levels of discipline.
The rewards really are unimaginable; there is no better time to start than right now. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship, so keep moving, keep growing and keep learning.
Do you have the self-discipline to take action right now?