Success just happens, right?
We all want to get somewhere in life and in business. We have goals and dreams. But why is it that only some people are able to get there? Is it because of luck, circumstance, or talent? Depending on the person it could be a combination of these elements. The one common theme that does come up when conversing with successful people is discipline. Whether it’s a business person growing an organization or an athlete wanting to medal in competition, discipline is the one element they all have in common. Discipline is a fundamental element in obtaining goals, dreams and desires.
Discipline is what keeps us going when times are tough and not going our way. It makes the bad times easier to get through. We must constantly practice, repeat, and believe in our purpose.
Discipline sometimes requires some sacrifice to reach the end goal. Having discipline means being very structured in our approach to reach our goal. An athlete will have a training schedule, competition, diet plan. They will follow this until they reach their ultimate goal. Because they know through disciplined practice they can hone their skills to be the best they can be, ultimately reaching their goal.
This is important in business and for leaders. When improving your organization, it’s important to have discipline. Sometimes this can be lacking in organizations. Everyone wants the desired outcome, but, unfortunately, they don’t put the proper energy, effort and planning needed to make it happen. They identify their goal, dreams and desires and then expect it to all magically happen. In my line of work, implementing efficiency improvements for organizations and people, being disciplined is critical to success. Are people following the new process and ways of working? Are companies reverting to old habits because it’s what they know and easier than trying to make the new way work? Discipline ensures goals remains on track.
So what is needed to be disciplined in business?
In my experience, when implementing efficiency improvements, there are 4 elements needed to ensure discipline in the business environment:
- Purpose – what is your goal, your desires, your vision. Be clear with where you want to go and the outcome you want. This will give you direction to know what you need to be disciplined in. Share this with everyone so you can be accountable to it. So if your goal is to improve a particular process, be clear with what you want and what success looks like.
- Plan – Write down the plan of how to get there. What are your milestones, how will you measure success, which is needed to support this concept? Using Project Management Institute planning guidelines will ensure you have a detailed, well thought out plan. Your plan is your blueprint to tell you how to get to your desired state.
- Mini rewards – When you’re on the path to achieving your goal, dreams or desires, you need some motivation along the way. It may take awhile before you get to your final destination. Mini rewards provide meaning to what you are doing now and it feels good, giving you the motivation to continue on your goal. This motivation allows you to keep your eye on the prize and remain focused.
- Trust – you must trust your purpose and plan. If you put the proper energy and effort into the first two elements, then you have a solid plan. Nothing is perfect so when things aren’t exactly going to plan, trust you have a good foundation and you’re on the right path. Of course you need to perform some course correction to get back on track, but don’t scrap the plan or goal because it’s not easy or got off track. This is when discipline becomes so important so we don’t revert back to old ways.
Being disciplined allows you to stay your course in achieving your dreams. Discipline sets apart those who just dream and those who dream and do. The business world needs more dreamers that do and discipline is one of the fundamental traits needed to ensure success.