Everything you thought you know about self-discipline is wrong…
Rainmaker, what if I told you that everything you’ve ever been told about self-discipline and getting yourself to perform was absolutely, totally wrong?
Well, it is…
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, in the context of my accountability coaching relationship.
Because in the month since I started that, a lot has changed in what I do.
I used to have trouble starting work on time, and that’s taken an almost-180-degrees full swing. In the past, I would actually sit down and start work on schedule maybe 20% of my days. On the other 80% of the days, I’d take a while to get rolling, and really get into work. Now that’s flipped. At least 80% of days I sit down and start work pretty quickly and effectively, and it’s rare that I struggle to get started. (I’m not going to lie — today was a slow start — but it’s become rare!)
I used to think about all the things I could accomplish if I set my mind to it, but not really make a ton of progress in important areas. Sure, I still got a lot of great client work done, and I’ve been strictly adherent to my daily emails since April 2014, but I knew I could do more. Now, I do more, and continue to make progress every week toward my biggest priorities.
And as a result of the above, I knew I was making a lot less than I should otherwise be. My numbers are my numbers, and yours are yours, but we all know when we should be making more with the time, talent, and opportunity we have. I definitely should have been making more. I continue to be booked out further and further into the future, with the exact kind of clients I’d like to work with. Some of that is a result of my cumulative reputation in the business, but it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t make it so.
In short, working with this accountability coach has been a total transformation — but it’s NOT because he gave me self-discipline…
He came recommended — strongly — from a friend and regular reader with the exact same Kolbe profile as me.
Your Kolbe profile represents the way you’re naturally driven to work. Mine basically says I’m driven to start things — to create momentum.
The problem with that is finishing. My Kolbe profile says that I actually suck at finishing.
I do thrive on deadlines — so if I have one, that will push me over the finish line. But even with a deadline (and the accountability of another party to hold me to it), I can still struggle.
Now, society calls this a lack of self-discipline.
In fact, I think this points to the exact same traits that got me diagnosed as ADHD:Inattentive. I have an attention span for things that excite me. When I’m creating and starting things, my attention will be transfixed (and hard to break) for hours. But when it comes to finishing things, my attention runs like a hyper puppy in a neighborhood with no fences.
And the Kolbe index — as well as that ADHD diagnosis — claims to measure something that’s somehow innate in me. Meaning it doesn’t really change, and I should expect it to be about what it is today for the rest of my life.
And I’m okay with that.
In fact, when USED and APPLIED, I think this is my superpower. In fact, I’ve said before that “ADHD is my superpower.”
The fact that it overlaps so specifically in traits with the quintessential entrepreneur’s profile in Kolbe is no surprise.
I know so many successful entrepreneurs who achieve so much BECAUSE they are ADHD — or if not diagnosed, diagnosable.
It’s all about the system you have in place to harness the power…
I told my coach that what I was missing most in my business is a “boss”…
When I walked away for the very last time from “the cubicle” and the 9-to-5 world, I thought one of the very best things was that I no longer had a boss.
And to a degree, that is one of the best things.
To be able to define my schedule as I please has been great. It’s given me incredible flexibility to be present in my young kids’ lives in a way that I’d NEVER get from a full-time job.
And to come and go — say, decide to work in a coffee shop for the day — without asking permission is INCREDIBLE!
And yet, that flexibility is also a curse.
Because for the last half-decade of working for myself, I’ve developed some pretty bad habits in terms of time and productivity.
And it’s those habits that led to the conditions I described above.
Abuse of the freedom earned through entrepreneurship.
Performance at a level below what I know myself to be capable of, just because I could get away with it.
These are things that a boss would never let fly.
And so in order for me to make my business all it can be, I decided I needed a “boss” again.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur, copywriter or consultant like me… Or if you’re at the top of multi-million dollar business (or even bigger!)…
When you’re the “top dog” it’s very easy to give yourself slack.
And when you give yourself slack, it’s very easy to fall down a bit.
And the best way to deal with that is to specifically find a source of accountability — to give yourself a “boss.”
Which brings me back around to the self-discipline bit…
Hiring a “boss” for yourself won’t necessarily give you self-discipline. That’s actually not the point.
What a good accountability coach or “boss” will do is help you build systems, habits, and disciplines (aka things you do, not “punishment” which self-discipline is synonymous with)…
And it’s those systems, habits, and disciplines that will lead to the results you want.
For example, I just looked at my schedule next week.
I’ve literally blocked out every working hour of the week, with pre-scheduled appointments.
Some of the blocks don’t have the specific tasks defined. Others do.
But I already know what major projects I’m going to be working on and when, all of next week.
I don’t have the option next week to start work late, and to be able to get done what I want and need to get done to move myself forward in the way I want to move forward.
Further, I’m planning out specific things that I will need to get done during those blocks. I have to-do lists.
And I will check in with my “boss” on a daily basis to indicate where I’m moving forward, and where I want to move forward more.
I’ve established a system, habit, and discipline of doing at least one thing every day to bring new money through the door. I’m actually booked out through April 1st next year already — but I’m still pushing forward to make sure I have work to do then.
None of this reflects greater self-discipline — but it does reflect better disciplines…
When I wasn’t doing this on my own, I found a “boss” in an accountability coach to help me define and execute on my disciplines.
I’m still the same Roy with the same ADHD and the same natural motivation to bounce from one thing to the next without finishing it.
But as I’ve implemented and will continue to define, implement, and optimize further disciplines and habits and daily practices with the systems to support them…
I can promise you that I’m creating a much bigger, brighter, more bountiful future.
And that my friend, is a life-changing breakthrough!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets