Self-discipline for entrepreneurs: How to get back on track

Did you fail to meet your goal? Yep. Will you have to work a little harder tomorrow? Probably. Does this have anything to do with your self-discipline? Probably. This article will show you how to move forward and get back on track.

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self-discipline in business

Self-discipline is a key that opens myriad doors and opportunities in life. However, staying disciplined can be an uphill task especially for entrepreneurs due to reasons such as social, societal, digital, environmental, and physical distractions. I, for one, is a victim of being constantly distracted by my phone. A notification on my phone can quickly spiral me from reading an e-book to attending to social media and wallowing therein.

Self-discipline should come to play especially when exploring your talent, growing your career, in your academics, and your entrepreneurial pursuits. The late celebrated business motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said that success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day.

Starting and running a business is like planting a bamboo tree. Planting is the investment you make in your business in terms of time and resources. You must then ceaselessly water your tree while expecting nothing in return for the first few years. However, most entrepreneurs throw in the towel at the tree watering stage as their patience gets worked up and anxiety take over. Top on the list of factors why eight out of ten entrepreneurs fail in their business is self-discipline, (or lack of it); and that will be my focus in this article.

I will share with you the common tips for attaining self-discipline. You’ve probably heard of them but have never taken them seriously. And I hope after this read you will get the renewed motivation to rebuild your hustle, this time with self-discipline.

  1. Start small

You’ve probably heard this a million times, but don’t roll your eyes on this point yet. Notable successful startups began as humble ideas bootstrapped through the founder’s own resources. All they had was a dream and a plan of how to actualize their dreams, attain the vision, and maybe achieve freedom. For most young and small business entrepreneurs, their dream is to clock out of their nine-to-five job for the last time and become their own boss. It is extremely intelligent to consider starting small both in ideas and resources.

There’s an English proverb that says that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. In entrepreneurship, it simply translates to deliberate steps taken daily to grow your venture that will eventually yield good results. But, while many first time entrepreneurs will have plenty of passion, direction can be hard to find. Burnouts, blurred vision, lack of motivation will eventually result in closure of ventures. Self-discipline will enable the entrepreneur to keep their drive and focus on growing the business. This is why it is very important to do things in sizeable portions and pace if your goal is to achieve massive success. So, review your goals and break them into to-dos and check off the box when you succeed at one task.

  1. Be consistent

As a founder, I pray to be like the ocean – with soft currents, maybe waves at times. Just like Drew Barrymore, an American actress, entrepreneur and director said, I also, more and more, yearn the consistency of ocean waves rather than the high tides. This quote here should be your silent wish and prayer as an entrepreneur. It is the consistency in handling smaller tasks that will build your resilience in turbulent times. High and low tides and strong currents are completely unavoidable in business, but whether to keep pushing is entirely a personal decision.

Remaining calm and consistent in turbulent times has remained mans’ greatest obstacle since the days of Christ. Today’s business environment is constantly turbulent, meaning, as an entrepreneur, you will operate in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous business environment. Being consistent in your decision making will make you strong and relentless and steer you from making irrational decisions that can harm your business.

As an entrepreneur each time you think of losing hope and focus on your hustle be encouraged by stories of those whose hardships fueled their success today. Remember, your ability to learn fast, adapt and respond to changes and uncertainties will ensure you consistently add value to your startup no matter what comes along.

  1. Accountability partner

There’s no path in this life that you’ll ever travel that no one has traveled before. Entrepreneurship definitely isn’t an exception. So, congratulations that you want to build this great empire and you’re working round the clock to achieve that. However, you cannot achieve great things alone. Having an accountability partner is very important because they help you see the blind spots and through the blurry vision. As Byron Pulsifer puts it, “we’re all responsible and accountable for what we do or say even if those behaviors occur in stressful times.”

As an entrepreneur, I’ve embraced the fact that I have to reach out to professionals who are more skilled in areas I’m weak on. I encourage you to find an accountability partner because you’re going to need social, monetary, mental, and moral support. Besides your passion to grow your business, be wise about who you allow in your network because you’re an average of the five connections you spend the most time with.

  1. Assess your progress

How far or close are you in achieving your goals? If someone asked you this in the middle of a deep slumber how would you answer? It is of no use to set a goal if you have no way of knowing if you’re successful or not. You must be able to track your progress and measure the level of success attained.

As an entrepreneur in order to cultivate discipline in your hustle, you need to constantly access your progress. This will help keep you on toes and in check with how good or how far off you’re wandering from your goals. You can do this through the good, old important way that’s journaling or through apps, staying on the plan, using data and figures, and checklists. Whichever option you choose, keep the focus on your goals.

  1. Reward yourself

Pay yourself first is an anthem sang to entrepreneurs each time they start out. Whether big or small, paying yourself will help you stay disciplined and avoid using your profit each time you have a situation. Self-discipline should keep you from being a spendthrift. Bootstrapping is one of the best ways to build your hustle but if you forget to pay yourself, you may end up feeling and looking frustrated.

Don’t punish yourself for mistakes you made in the past, but reward yourself for the great person those mistakes helped create. This will activate a part of your brain that will remain disciplined so you can reward yourself more. If you’ve ever received a gift then you know how great it feels to be in someone’s thoughts. Be that someone for yourself

  1. Start again

Just like the sun rises and sets without getting tired, so should you. Constantly pursue your purpose and hustle without losing hope. Successful entrepreneurs have a tendency to win and achieve high standards. This trait makes them so afraid of failure that they run a risk to ruin their lives while avoiding to fail. View failure as an inevitable part of success. To succeed you have to fail. Whenever it feels you’ve reached a dead end, pause, rest, rethink but never ever give up. And when you have a great comeback plan remember to put all the above points into consideration and eventually you will be on the list of conquerors.

Read: Entrepreneur culture: What modern-day entrepreneurs should avoid

Finally on self-discipline…

Let’s be honest. Self-discipline, for most entrepreneurs, is a work in progress. At times, self-discipline is good intentions entangled in procrastination and feelings of failure. But no one is saying you need to have it all figured out at once. Like everything else, self-discipline takes practice. Every day. With small wins, you will keep inching closer to attaining self-discipline. Remember: If self-discipline feels difficult, then you’re probably doing it wrong.

Yvonne Okeyo

Motivational Speaker, Life Skills Coach, and Founder of Peridot Consultants.