After an 18-year career at Kforce, one of the key traits that I believe separates the good from the elite is the ability to instill discipline in everything someone does. Discipline is an art. Discipline is a trained habit that once achieved will help you take your career to new heights. I also believe that discipline is a choice. There is a great book that I read over the last few years called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson is a great book about making the smallest choices can sometimes have the biggest impact. To me, that is what discipline is all about. Will I get up to go to the gym? Will I decide on the donut or the granola? Will I have a soda or just stick what water?
As Tommy Lasorda once said, there are three types of people in the world:
- Those who watch things happen
- Those who wonder how things happen
- Those who MAKE things happen
Those who make things happen have discipline. They are organized. They come to work with a purpose and have clarity. In the field of business development or sales, I believe discipline is one of the most sought-after skills a successful salesperson should have. Cold calling day in and day out can be monotonous and can beat you down mentally. Here are simple ways that I adopted to build discipline:
- Create a to-do list daily. Every day ensure you have measurable goals or tasks to achieve daily. The smallest task crossed out that you completed will keep you positive and moving forward to your larger goals.
- Find tasks in your daily life (inside or outside of work) that will help you feel like you’re accomplishing tasks and moving things forward. For example, something as simple as making your bed every day will change the way your mind works – especially after coming home from a tough day. I have a long driveway to my house and blowing the leaves off it during the fall/winter months can turn a bad day into a good day. I can see my accomplishments.
- Share your tasks/goals with others – This might seem odd I’ve found that when you share these you can instill accountability by not wanting to let your teammate or yourself down.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make who lack discipline is that they easily make excuses on why things can’t be done. To me, that is a choice. Anyone can do anything they put their mind too. Focus on clarity of the goal or the task at hand and continue to build out your daily task of what is most important to you. Next, share that with others so that they can help you stay accountable to yourself and/or your team.
It’s now your turn and I would love to hear from you. How do you view or describe discipline? What activities have you found to further build out discipline in your daily life? Please leave a comment below as I would love to hear from you.