I have to admit, I’ve always hated discipline.
But looking back, I can’t deny that discipline was critical in everything I did well (as well as the culprit in everything that I didn’t do so well). I can say without a doubt that my practice of discipline in certain areas of life, again and again, really is key to success.
But there’s always been a problem.
See, in my mind, the ultimate reward for years of discipline would be the arrival of the day when I could discard it. Someday, I promised myself, I would be successful enough to live a discipline-free life, to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. No two days would be the same, and no one would be able to expect anything of me that I didn’t feel like doing. That would, in fact, be the definition of success.
I don’t think I’m terribly different from many entrepreneurs and leaders out there. Though we all understand the importance of focus and diligence in meeting our daily responsibilities, many of us quietly yearn for the day when our businesses will be in a place where we can be spontaneous and free, where we can choose how to spend our time – depending on what we feel like doing at any given moment, on any given day.
But it’s ironic that real freedom comes from discipline, not the lack of it. Discipline always seems to offer us the best chance for happiness and harmony.
There’s been a lot of research that reinforces that the best part of people’s lives are the times when they were held to a higher standard of discipline by a positive peer group. They followed certain disciplines and held one another accountable to operating at their absolute best.
Look at high performing organizations like Southwest Airlines, Patagonia or the U.S. Marine Corps, all of which rely heavily on natural, informal networks to keep peer pressures positive.
This is easier said than done – though elite military units, for example, and peak performing enterprises around the world have been at it for decades. The discipline to operate at a much higher standard isn’t easy, but it’s often one of the most gratifying experiences in a person’s lifetime.
Don’t get me wrong. I still greatly appreciate and understand the need for occasional freedom and unstructured time. We all need that. But I have to admit that I didn’t realize that freedom becomes its own kind of prison without a general sense of structure and limits. By embracing the need for discipline in our lives, at work and at home, we receive a sense of peace and humility that is far better than rampant freedom. And ironically, it makes occasional opportunities for freedom much more enjoyable.
Here are five key disciplines that we’ll be exploring in the upcoming Council of Visionary Business Builders.
1) BEING vs DOING
In the Council, we will aim to build mastery – to deepen your grounding and your being. You will practice the art of being an entrepreneur that creates a high-performing, high impact business environment. The Council is about increasing wisdom vs knowledge to help you create more impact and more income. You will build for the business you want, not the business you have.
2) NARROW vs BROAD
In the Council, you’ll narrow down and find focus. I’ll help you zero in on your zone of brilliance and leverage it. You will tighten your target and streamline your business to become top of mind within your industry or market.
3) PEER POWER vs PEER PRESSURE
The Council is like your Board of Directors – a high level board of peers – helping you build and maintain momentum. In the Council we will be radically honest with you. We’ll champion you and celebrate your successes. But we won’t ever let you feel like you’ve won before you have.
4) LESS vs MORE
In the Council, you’ll focus on what matters most – to relentlessly protect your time from everything else. I will curate the very best experiences, resources and experts to allow you to focus and leverage your time.
5) ENERGY vs TIME
Money is infinite. Time can be leveraged. Energy is finite. In the Council we will help you build and sustain your energy. We will help you focus on optimizing your environment – so you are mentally, emotionally, and physically equipped to handle the demands of running and growing your business and your impact.
If you’d like to join us, here’s what I require of you:
If you’re ready to to practice discipline in a powerful peer group of experienced entrepreneurs that won’t allow you to settle for anything less than your best – I look forward to reviewing your application.
It takes a village to scale a business. Growing a business doesn't need to be a solo act. It's a whole lot easier and more fun to do it with a group of seasoned entrepreneurs. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2018 Council of Visionary Business Builders.