Get Your Free eBook

GET IT NOW! Rory Vaden eBook

Sign up to receive my Daily Discipline blog posts via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-mini book of quotes FREE.

Get a free Rory Vaden e-book!

How to Immediately Increase Your Self Discipline

How to Immediately Increase Your Self Discipline

After delivering a keynote speaking presentation last week a man comes up to me and asks, “Rory what could I do immediately to increase my self-discipline?”

It’s a good question, and the best answer is pretty simple but before I share the answer with you it’s valuable to understand the context of the answer.

I think this particular man, and most people in general who might ask this question, are looking for a permanent solution.

They’re looking for something they can do once that will permanently improve their self-discipline.

But that is the wrong way of thinking about it.

Success in anything is almost never the result of doing things right one time.

Success is the byproduct of doing things right consistently over periods of time.

And you will never really be successful until you actually understand that.

But that doesn’t mean the answer isn’t powerful. The answer is powerful because it’s the same answer in every situation.

So in that way it is something you can learn to do once, and then if you can get yourself to repeat that one habit consistently over time, it will bring you the success you’re looking for.

(Which, by the way, is why our core business at Southwestern Consulting is 1 on 1 coaching because we know what people really need help with is not learning one time what they need to do but rather they need help with the accountability of actually getting themselves to do the thing consistently over a long period of time.)

So back to the issue at hand. How do you immediately increase your self-discipline?

Simple: you think longer term.

Anytime you evaluate a decision in the context of what feels good here and now, you’re going to always gravitate towards doing the easiest thing.

But anytime you evaluate a decision in the context of what is going to make tomorrow better, easier, and more fruitful then you’re willingness to endure sacrifice increases.

We often think that we don’t have “enough” discipline but that is inaccurate.

We have plenty of self discipline.

It’s just that self discipline becomes dormant in the absence of a dream.

So it’s not really a matter of increasing your self discipline as much as it’s a matter of activating it.

It’s already there.

As you get clear on what you want in the future, your energy activates for what you can endure right now.

If you’re not thinking about the impacts on your future, you default to what creates the best situation right now – which is usually indulgence.

It’s not a matter of how much willpower you have.

It’s a matter of how long is your perspective.

So the permanent solution that is immediately available to you for increasing your self discipline  is to think longer term.

But you can’t just do it once. You have to do that every time you’re confronted with a decision about whether or not to be disciplined.

Which is why we at Southwestern say “success is never owned; it is only rented – and the rent is due every day.”

The Difference Between Good Customer Service and Great Customer Service

The Difference Between Good Customer Service and Great Customer Service

Pardon the bathroom setting of this story but I think it’s worth the lesson.

It was just another normal travel day for me as I headed into a Charlotte airport E-Terminal public restroom for a quick stop in between flights.

Like most people, I’ve obviously been in plenty of public restrooms over the years and probably encountered maybe 50 bathroom attendants- but none like the one on this particular day.

I’ve rarely ever given any of them any tip because they didn’t really provide much value to me unless they had a stash of products sitting there and I used something.

But on this particular day I walked in and was enthusiastically greeted with a big presence and a large smile.

“Welcome in sir. You’re looking sharp! My name is William and my goal is to keep it fresh, keep it fun and keep it as fast as possible for you while you’re in here!”

“Fun?!” I thought to myself. “This could be interesting.”

William’s first act though was that he sprayed a very pleasant air freshener in the general direction I was heading.

Then before I had a chance to even react he said “please allow me to help” and gently grabbed my bags from my hand.

Once he saw where I was headed he actually walked over in front of me and sprayed the handle I would be using with disinfectant spray and quickly wiped it off. He smiled again.

At that point he then wiped down the handles of my bags and placed them near the exit of the restroom.

As I prepared to exit, he beat me over to the sink and turned on the faucet for me so it was running warm before I arrived and then held out a bottle of soap to squirt some right into my hand and smiled again.

Before I was done rinsing my hands, he tore off a couple paper towels and patiently waited with them standing by for when I was ready.

As I dried my hands he grabbed my bags (with a towel covering his hand) and brought them over to me with a big smile and said “my guess is you’re a busy guy with not a lot of time to spare. Can I answer any questions for you about where you’re headed in the airport?”

I simply smiled at him and said “thank you for your wonderful service William.” I handed him $5 and walked out.

Not only did I tip him, but he managed to pull off the same routine with every person as they walked into that restroom.

In the few minutes I was there, William must’ve earned around $15 in tips.

As I walked out I thought “what an incredible guy!”

And I asked myself what was it about William that made my experience so wonderful and unique that I would literally give him a $5 bill for doing things I could’ve easily done for myself?

Sure, he was positive, enthusiastic and pleasant and that counts for a lot. But I’ve met other pleasant bathroom attendants and never felt compelled to tip them.

And then I realized what his key service difference was…

He anticipated the need.

He didn’t just serve my needs. He anticipated them.

A clean bathroom with all the necessary items you need to do your business is meeting the need.

But when they’re each presented and activated for you on your behalf just moments before you need them, that’s special.

It’s special because it’s useful.

It’s useful because it’s helpful.

Because it’s helpful, that makes it valuable.

Delivering what your customers want is good customer service.

But great customer service is anticipating their needs before they come up.

It’s knowing what they’re going to need and supplying it before they even think to ask for it.

That’s what creates a great experience. And that is a part of what creates a unique experience.

It’s thinking through “what could make this experience better for my clients?”

“What could we do that would over deliver on their expectations?”

“What could save them time?”

“How can we be more useful?”

“How could we provide for our clients in a way that would far exceed anything they’ve ever experienced?”

Those are the types of questions that bring about remarkable customer service.

If William can do it with the ultimate commoditized experience, then surely we can all figure out a way to pick it up a notch for our own customers.

 

A First Step of Solving Almost Every Problem

A First Step of Solving Almost Every Problem

One of the biggest reasons why people struggle with solving problems is because they often overlook this critical first step.

Because no matter what the problem is or what the circumstance, you’re best hope for solving it almost always requires the exact same beginning.

You have to take ownership of the problem.

You have to internalize responsibility for your problem.

You have to resolve that regardless of how the problem came to be, it’s both your duty and your ability to find the solution.

It’s not something that you rely on someone else or something else to solve.

Because until you own your problem you can’t own your solution.

When you encounter a problem that you believe is the result of something outside yourself, then you will never be able to have power over that problem.

It is something that is happening to you of which you are just a bystander and a spectator.

By definition, its outside your control.

But when you own your problem, when you take responsibility for its existence, and when you decide that you’re in charge of fixing it, things start to change.

You stop viewing it as something that is occurring to you and you start viewing it as something you can maneuver.

You stop experiencing it and you start influencing it.

You stop being affected by it and you start affecting it.

Once you own your problem, you create the opportunity to find the solution.

Because if it happened to you through no fault of your own, then you are just an unfortunate victim of circumstances that are beyond your control.

But If you decide that you played some part in creating it, and you own it as your fault, then you can play the lead role in solving it.

And even if you didn’t create the problem. Even if the problem did result from something outside your control. You can still do something about it.

There are always things within your control that you can do. So do those things and never let any problem be an excuse for why you don’t focus on what is in your control.

While you can’t always control whether or not problems show up, you can always control how you respond to them and what you do about them.

One way or another, your life is your fault.

So own the problem.

Then own the solution.

The Limit of a Leader

Your level of influence as a leader is directly limited by the size of your ego.

The larger your ego, the less your chance to reach your leadership potential.

The smaller your ego, the greater your chance to reach your leadership potential.

Ego is a conundrum that many leaders will eventually have to face.

Overcome it, and there is no limit to the impact and influence that you can have.

Because a selfless leader magnetically draws in the loyalty and commitment of a team.

But a self-serving leader inadvertently creates fractures in the team and begins to push people away.

It’s a fascinating dynamic how it all happens.

Because you often become a leader by being a top achiever.

But it’s a case of what got you here as an achiever, won’t get you there as a leader.

An achiever cares about earning respect.

A leader cares about building relationships.

An achiever is used to competing for positioning.

A leader progresses by fostering principles.

An achiever rises by pushing themselves to new heights.

A leader rises by helping others along the path.

It doesn’t mean that a great achiever can’t be a leader.

It just means that they have to lay it all down for the team.

They have to intentionally choose to put the team first.

They have to evolve and adapt and mature to the point that their personal ego dies for the sake of advancing the team.

You can have any level of personal success as long as you have a higher level of selflessness towards serving the team.

Become selfless and do it right and you and your team will reach a whole new level.

Remain self serving though and do it wrong and you may start to find yourself increasingly isolated.

Getting Through Grief with Debbie Lee – Episode 208 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Debbie Lee is an author, public speaker and CEO of America’s Mighty Warriors who travels the nation telling her son’s amazing story and advocating and supporting our troops, their families and families of the fallen. Debbie understands the sacrifice our troops make and that “Freedom isn’t free.” On Aug 2, 2006 she received a knock on the door that would forever change her life. She was notified that her son Marc Alan Lee had been killed in action becoming the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq. Since that day Debbie has dedicated her life to honoring our troops and the families of the fallen, defending our defenders and fighting to keep the freedoms that our troops have fought for. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that our troops and military and Gold Star families have access to respite and important services that help assist recovery after injury or loss.

By God’s strength she chose to rise above the most devastating circumstance of her life to impact other’s lives giving them hope and encouragement. In response to her son’s last letter home to “pass on the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life” she founded America’s Mighty Warriors and is providing programs that improve quality of life, resiliency and recovery.  Debbie has completed a multitude of cross country tours, visited Gitmo, and visited Iraq in 2007 and 2010 becoming the First Gold Star Mom in history to visit the combat zone where her son died. She has conducted over 1000 media interviews and has been a regular on FOX news. Debbie appeared on stage with Tim McGraw at the ACMA’s in 2007, has met with President Bush numerous times and can often be found on Capitol Hill advocating for our troops.

“God has equipped me and given me amazing strength and hope, and I want to share that with others.” ~Debbie Lee

Show Highlights:

How do we move on when bad things happen? @MightyWarriors

I had a choice of how I responded. @MightyWarriors

Read Marc’s last letter home here.

“To all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other..” – Marc’s last letter home

Doing random acts of kindness will help you overcome grief. @MightyWarriors

Rory shares two key elements of responding to grief. @rory_vaden

Going through grief is a take the stairs moment. @rory_vaden

In the darkest moments, extend your perspective. @rory_vaden

Our ability to have peace is directly proportionate to the term of our perspective. @rory_vaden

The size of the problem doesn’t change, but the term of your perspective does.  @rory_vaden

Make an intentional choice to take your pain, go out and use it for good. @rory_vaden

Hero’s are those that serve. @rory_vaden

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

The Marshmallow Test – The Payoff of Delayed Gratification

THE PAYOFF OF DELAYED GRATIFICATION

If you’ve never heard of the marshmallow test, it’s worth knowing about.

From Wikipedia:

The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies on delayed gratification in the late 1960s and early 1970s led by psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University. In these studies, a child was offered a choice between one small reward (a marshmallow) provided immediately or two small rewards (i.e., a larger later reward) if they waited for a short period, approximately 15 minutes, during which the tester left the room and then returned.

In follow-up studies, years later, the researchers found that those children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI), and other life measures.

It’s a simple choice in this experiment, “one marshmallow now or two later?”

That is a variation of the same choice that each of us make every single day when it comes to a multitude of decisions in our lives.

Indulge in the thing right in front of us or make a disciplined choice now and receive more blessings later on?

In Take the Stairs we called this dynamic the Paradox Principle of Sacrifice.

Which simply stated is this: Easy short term choices lead to difficult long term consequences.

Meanwhile, difficult short term choices lead to better long term consequences.

That’s the payoff of self-discipline.

And self-control is the brother of self-discipline.

If self-discipline is doing things you know you should be doing even when you don’t feel like doing them.

Then self-control is not doing things you know you shouldn’t be doing.

But both of them have the same result: long term rewards.

Long term gain.

Long term satisfaction.

Long term happiness.

Doing the right thing in the short term is what creates the better life in the long run.

We often think of these things as “sacrifices” but they aren’t sacrifices.

A sacrifice is giving something up that you never get back.

Good decisions aren’t sacrifices at all.

Good decisions are short term down payments on rich future blessings.

Of course, this idea is nothing new.

Hebrews 12:11 said it this way 2000 years ago:

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time. Yet it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Think about that: “a harvest of righteousness and peace…”

Isn’t that what you want?

A harvest of righteousness and peace.

An abundance of blessings, good fortune, and calm faith.

A life filled with joy and free from stress.

Those things are available for your future.

They are available by the choices you make today.

They are available by doing the things now that you know you should be doing even when you don’t feel like doing them.

And by not doing things you know you shouldn’t be doing.

They are available through a little self-discipline and self-control expanded consistently.

In every area of your life, sow today for your harvest tomorrow.