From time to time someone asks me what the “key to my success” has been. I always assume they’re asking me about my success growing a thriving business, but the answer I typically give is really the reason for nearly all of my success: discipline.
There’s not much I’ve been successful at, if anything, for which the path to getting there was difficult to ascertain, or particularly creative. For example, I was a very good student growing up. What was the key to that success? Going to class and studying my ass off. A few years ago I lost 35 pounds (which I’ve mostly kept off). What was the key to that success? It might disappoint you to learn that my trick was eating right and exercising (yes, including eating pizza at least 1-2 times per week). When I was in my 20s, I quickly climbed from minimum wage delivery driver to Director of Operations of a $10 Million Domino’s franchise. The key to that success was working my ass off and doing what I was taught.
In fact, I’m convinced that WHAT you must do to be successful in practically any pursuit is not that difficult to determine. Hell, Google it if you have to. For most things you don’t even have to Google it; you already know! I’m also convinced that to be successful at most things you don’t have to have a ton of natural talent either. I consider myself approximately average by almost every measure, and I expect that you are too (after all, that is the definition of average, eh?).
So the key to my success? I’ve learned that if I have the discipline to do what I tell myself I am going to do, I can accomplish nearly anything.
I’m not perfect by any means, and I set out to do things and fall short (temporarily) all the time. But by in large, I do accomplish the things I set out to, because over time I have taught myself to do the things I tell myself I am going to do. For me that means writing down what I want to accomplish and the specific steps to getting there. I make plans. I revisit those plans every single week and judge whether I am doing the steps or not and recalibrate as needed. My system is a little more involved than that, but those are the basics. In any case time management and goal setting are just like diets, there are a million systems, most of which will work if you follow them!
It’s the season for New Year’s resolutions. Write down your goals and the steps you must follow to reach those goals. Revisit these every single week (forever). When you falter, don’t beat yourself up, just recommit and keep going. You might not only lose 20 pounds, you might find the key to your success.