I never went to business school. A lot of the skills and tactics I use as an entrepreneur actually come from my time in the military. That’s where I learned the importance of mission, leadership, and teamwork. But one of the most important things the military taught me was how to build discipline.
Growing up, I wasn’t very disciplined. I lived in survival mode, chasing instant gratification and letting my circumstances distract me from my goals. As an infantryman, that wasn’t an option. With missions and lives on the line, I learned how important it was to have the focus, self-control, accountability, and integrity that comes from building discipline.
When I transitioned to entrepreneurship, I took that habit with me. That’s why I’ve been able to:
- Stay focused even when there were distractions or failures
- Be resourceful and solution-oriented when problems come up
- Hold myself accountable and always operate with integrity
- Take extreme ownership instead of having a victim mindset
- Show up and work hard even when I don’t feel like it
- Set big goals and do whatever it takes to accomplish them
Discipline is one of the most important tools an entrepreneur can have in their arsenal.
But it doesn’t come naturally. You have to cultivate it. It isn’t hard to give up or quit when you’re tired or bored. It is always easier to be distracted and lazy. Building discipline takes practice and commitment.
That’s why I’m sharing my tools and tactics to help you stay on track and focused on your goals:
Clarity. Planning. Execution.
Operating your business without a plan is like taking a road trip without a map. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to have clarity about where you’re going and what you want to achieve. Without a clear mission, you’ll be operating in chaos.
One of the tools I use for clarity is the 3-2-1 Plan. Start by setting your goals for your business. Get specific about your expenses and revenue targets, etc. Then break down what it would take to make that happen, financially and logistically. Once you know what it takes to achieve your goals, create a plan that will get you there in 3 years. Set your biggest goal for three years out, aim to achieve half of that by year 2, and half of the year 2 goal in year 1.
Here’s where the habit of discipline comes in. A plan only works if you’re consistent. Research shows it takes 66 days for a behavior to become a habit. You can’t do something once or twice and think it’s going to stick. So, once you have your plan laid out, focus on working on the goals you’ve set every single day.
Focus on Simple Priorities
When you’re working on big goals, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by how much you have to do. Sometimes your focus breaks down because you’re not sure what to be disciplined about. The High Impact, Low Effort approach can keep you on track. Look at your to-do list and identify the tasks that will make the biggest difference for your business or goals with the least amount of work. Then do those first.
Prioritizing these tasks is smart because it allows you to get results quickly, grow your confidence, gain momentum, and focus on the big picture. This method also helps you build discipline because you’re able to see the immediate benefits of your commitment. This has a snowball effect that makes it easier for you to keep pushing because you know your hard work pays off.
Be Your Own Support
Like I said before, building discipline takes intention and commitment. Don’t be your own downfall. Make sure that the people, things, and behaviors you’re invested in are actually supporting your goals. The world is full of distractions and excuses for laziness, so it’s up to you to give yourself what you need to go after your goals.
You’re in control of who you hang out with, what you read and watch, and how you spend your time. Identify the people and things that are distracting you from your goals and start choosing things that are aligned with your mission. For example, if you want to get up earlier, you can create a night routine that makes sure you get to bed at a decent time and wake up organized.
If you’re feeling like you’ve lost your focus, take a Step Back Day where you take time to focus on the bigger picture and reconnect to your mission and goals. Building discipline doesn’t mean you’re always going to be on track; it means you’ll know how to get back up if you fall off.
Put Logic First
In business, problems are going to happen. If you want to be a good entrepreneur, you need to be able to meet problems with solutions. I always tell my mentees and my team to try to think of three solutions for every problem that they face. But a lot of people see problems as a reason to panic or quit, because they’re operating from emotion instead of logic.
This is why it’s important to build discipline. You need to be able to lean into your emotional intelligence, step back from your problems, and use logic to stay focused on finding answers. You can start working on this in small ways every day. Whenever you run into an issue, instead of letting your feelings take over, remember your discipline and think about how you can solve the problem instead. The more you practice this, the easier it gets.
No matter what kind of business you run, what industry you’re in, or what stage you’re at, you should build discipline. With this tool in your arsenal, you’ll be able to keep pushing when other people quit; bounce back from failures and mistakes; and avoid the distractions and shortcuts that could ruin your business.
Want more tools to help you become more disciplined? Sign up for my free video bundle training to help you stay focused on your business goals.