This month I had an epic adventure with retired Navy Seals Jocko Willink and Leif Babin as they hosted Echelon Muster 3 in Austin, Texas. In a previous article, I shared just how awesome their best selling leadership book, Extreme Ownership is and why it should be required reading for every business. If you're a fan of this book and want to take the lessons from the book to the next level, then Echelon Muster is for you.
The best way I can describe this experience is surrounding yourself with incredible people who all are looking to better themselves, their colleagues, their communities and their companies. It's one thing to intellectually understand the pearls of wisdom of time-tested leadership strategies and another thing to immerse yourself in the application of these insights.
Applying the "Discipline Equals Freedom" Formula
At the end of this month, I will complete my first 140.6 mile Ironman. As I've previously described, I've committed to this Ironman to remind myself what I'm truly capable of accomplishing when I set my mind to something. The concept of "Discipline Equals Freedom" appears to be a paradox on the surface, but is actually an incredible insight that many people don't fully appreciate and it applies to just about every facet of your business.
Time management, for example, is about having the discipline to prioritize what's truly important and not get sucked into the nonsense that eats away most people's day. You know, all those shiny objects, compelling offers and "Hey, do you have minute?" unscheduled requests that will wreak havoc on your day if you allow them to. How many times do we look up at the clock and ask ourselves where has the time gone? We all have the same 168 hours in a week, but only those with time management discipline have the freedom to focus on the most important priorities that will truly have a massive impact on the desired business outcome.
Having well documented standard operating procedures (SOPs) is another place where most businesses fall short. While many entrepreneurs may argue that a detailed document of a business's process feels too restrictive, the contrary is actually the case. The discipline of procedures gets your entire company on the same page when it comes to your process and gives you the freedom to continually review and improve the way you do things. If nothing is ever written down, then that perceived freedom quickly turns into chaos as everyone thinks they know how things get done, but ultimately steps are missed, mistakes are made and growth grinds to a halt over simple misunderstandings between team members and steep learning curves for new hires.
Discipline Creates the Daily Habits That Ensure Your Desired Outcomes
At the Echelon Muster you have the option to get trained physically at 4:30am by retired Navy Seals, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. I thought this would be relatively easy given my past five months of Ironman training. After all, I thought to myself, what's 30 minutes of drills compared to my daily 2-3 hour workouts of swimming, biking and running? Boy was I wrong! Each drill was two minutes long with one minute of recovery. There were six stations and we did each drill twice. By the last set, I had fully exhausted my body and knew that I gave everything I had.
Seeing everyone feeling the physical pain that I was experiencing, Jocko Willink told our group, "If you want to be the best at anything, I highly recommend that you figure out what sucks the most and do that thing the most. The more we get after the things that truly suck, the better we become."
That's when it really hit me. Standing there physically exhausted, mussels throbbing in pain, I suddenly internalized the true meaning of the concept of Discipline Equals Freedom. The discipline to do the things that really challenge you every single day of your life will create the unreasonable daily habits in your life that deliver the freedom we all seek.
Discipline Gives You Financial Freedom
Think about it. Financial freedom, or How to Retire Rich, is having the daily discipline to spend less, save more and invest in your future. Financial freedom only comes with daily financial discipline.
Massive sales growth only occurs when you have the daily discipline to eliminate all other distractions and obsess about the daily tactics that, stacked together, deliver your daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly sales results. Freedom in business comes from the daily discipline you instill in every member of your team.
Better Discipline Leads To Better Health
And if you want to have the level of energy you once had in your 20's, well that freedom comes from your daily discipline around your early morning workouts.
Simply put, for every freedom you desire, there is a daily discipline you must implement until it becomes your habit. From the physical to the emotional to the strategic and the tactical - this universal formula applies to every aspect of your life.
It's not about understanding this concept, it's about putting it into action. So I ask you what's the one thing in your business you dread the most? Take a 30 day challenge and do that thing every day for the next 30 days and see what happens. You'll surprise yourself when you see the incredible results.
As Jocko Willink and Leif Babin like to say, "Get After It!"