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Your Real Goal-Achieving Superpower Is Discipline


A lot of people think getting motivated is the key to achieving their goals. But that’s not the whole story.

Absolutely, motivation is important! It’s vital to get you where you want to go. But that’s just the starting point.

The next vital steps involve laying down a plan— a process — for how to get there. And that entails, sometimes, steps that initially aren’t going to feel super-exciting, that initially won’t render huge rewards. But they’re vital parts of the process to achieve those objectives you’ve got. And that involves discipline. That involves implementing processes and being consistent, every single opportunity, to perfect, to master, those actions.

When I was training UC Berkeley, we were training outdoors. At 4:30 in the morning, when an alarm clock would go off, and it was pitch black, and it was raining, and the fraternity party next door hadn’t shut down until 2:30 that morning, and I was still sore from training the night before, if I was just to rely on motivation to get me out of bed, I’ll tell you now, chances are, I would have just gone back to sleep.

It’s discipline, where I knew: get up, turn off the alarm clock, feet on the floor, gear bag over the shoulder, switch off the light as you close the door and get down to the pool. That was the thought process. I didn’t have to stand around wondering, “How motivated am I to train?” Hey, the circumstances weren’t super-encouraging, but I knew what I needed to do, and I simply went about taking step one, step two, step three and seeing it through.

And it’s exactly the same with building an advisory business.

So let’s say you want to build a business where you have 80 clients paying you $5000 a year —$400,000. That’s a really neat thing to think about and highly motivating to pursue. But that’s not going to achieve it for you. You’ve got to then be disciplined with what you need to implement.

You’ve got to be ready to walk away, for instance, from a prospect who might have $2 million but want to get caught up in talking about equities markets. Or you’ve got to be disciplined to learn a new financial-planning piece of software. Or maybe you’ve got to implement a new risk-tolerance questionnaire and risk-tolerance software that you’re not familiar with right now, but you know if you set down the time blocks to do that, it’s going to have you being a far more effective advisor. Those are the disciplined steps that you may need to take.

Yes, stay passionate about your end objective of $400,000 in revenue coming in. But then, what disciplined steps do you need to take to make that happening a certainty? So,

  1. Yes, get motivated about that end objective and where you want to get to.

  2. But realize it’s now coming from motivation to discipline. What disciplined steps do you need to execute consistently to arrive at that end point?

  3. When things do take a little longer than you first expected, persevere. Make sure that you stay focused on that disciplined process. Eyes motivated by what it’s going to feel like when you get there. Then head back down and just perfecting these steps day by day by day.

Related: The Ideas That Bog Us Down the Most