Disciplines

Last week I wrote a blog post about developing confidence. One of the key points of that blog post was keeping commitments to yourself, or as Jim Rohn would say, “not neglecting the daily disciplines.”

I firmly believe that its one of the biggest drivers of being confident; knowing that you’re going to do the things you promise yourself that you will do. But what should you be promising yourself?

Outside of the daily disciplines that are required for our work; making phone calls,  answering emails etc., there are ten things that every success book ever written suggest as daily disciplines. I’ve included those ten things here, but would love to see what your additions would be.

1. Get Quiet

Prayer, meditation, listening to Led Zeppelin while counting your breaths, whatever you have to do to quiet your mind. The discipline of focusing our thoughts gives us an expanded ability to focus our attention when it’s really needed.

2. Shine Your Shoes

This one is metaphorical. I take it to mean literally buffing my shoes every morning as I put them on, but not everyone wears shiny shoes. It means take some pride in your appearance. The way the world sees you is important, they way you see yourself is even more so. 

3. Focus on Your Goals

The importance of goals has been beaten to death. It’s safe to say everyone knows that we need written goals, but we also need to focus on them. I recently began the practice of writing them down every morning and ever night. This discipline brings a new focus to what I actually want.

4. Plan

Great days at the beach may happen by happenstance, great days at work however as carefully planned and ruthlessly pursued. The discipline of reclaiming our agenda and actually moving through the day with purpose requires planning. We must set our schedules, organize our tasks and plan our attack because either you run your day or your day runs you.

5. Move!

Some people run, some people walk and others lift heavy things but we as a species weren’t designed to sit all day in front of glowing screens. Finding a way to move in a way that we enjoy is a discipline that simply cannot neglect.

6. Tend To Your Brand

Our personal brand is what sets us apart from others in any work environment. It’s what helps pay the bills if we’re self-employed and it’s what get us promoted if we work for someone else. The discipline of every day tending to our brand is critical. It means having a presence online and being consistent. It means looking your very best and it means carrying yourself with purpose. All of this requires daily discipline to keep our brand relevant and exposed.

7. Read

Books, trade journals, blogs, newspapers, and magazine, whatever it takes to be informed, to learn the skills and develop the knowledge is critical. The average American CEO last year read over 60 books. The average American was lucky to have read one. It’s a fundamental fact, Leaders Are Readers.

8. Journal

One of my favorite quotes comes from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: “Our heads are for having ideas not storing them.” When I mention keeping a journal, I’m not talking about a teenage diary, I’m talking about an organized method for collecting the thoughts that pop into our heads so that we can filter out good ideas from bad and turn ideas into something of substance. Keeping a journal is a daily discipline that should not be neglected.

9. Practice

Not every day is game day, but when game day comes, we need to be sharp. The only way to get sharp is to practice. That means if you’re a salesperson, we practice our pitch, if you’re a nurse you practice your technique and your bedside manner, but everyone needs practice. We get paid for game day heroics, but those don’t come without failures on the practice field of life.

10. Love

This seems too touchy-feely but that’s not how I mean it. Often times, people will do things for others that they will not do for themselves. Loving our families, our neighbors ourselves and our God brings meaning to the things that we do and allows us to work for something bigger than ourselves. Those of us lucky enough to have those people in our life need not neglect the daily discipline of loving them.

 

I’m actually pretty proud of my list because to me to encompasses all of the things that we must do every  day if we are going to live an authentic and full life. I’m sure it’s not complete however which means I would love to read your additions. Share yours in a comment below.

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