is the hardest part. In a world filled with opportunities, it’s easy to jump from shiny object to shiny object. Each time a promising new opportunity comes up, people get excited about the potential to make more money. The problem, based on my years of experience, is that WHATEVER the opportunity is, they all require the discipline to GET THINGS DONE in order for them to work.
I’m going to take you through the six critical components of Discipline. Whether you use these components to pursue a side gig, or you use them to achieve better financial results in the job you’re currently in, you’ll find these components to be game changers if used consistently and correctly.
What Drives You?
The first component of Discipline is understanding what drives you. Let’s face it, so many people are in jobs that they absolutely hate! Getting up every day, commuting through crappy weather, dealing with unfriendly people, and doing something that doesn’t make them feel good in any way shape or form. This sucks!
If you happen to be one of those people, there’s hope. If you’re in a crappy job now, ask yourself if there is opportunity to move up or over in the organization. Personally, I took a job as a data entry temp because I knew I could end up in a supervisor role within a year if I worked hard enough. Do you have an opportunity like that? Are you positioned to make it into a role that inspires you or excites you? If not, maybe it’s time to make a change. If you’re not going to be driven to succeed, to move up, to make a difference, to deliver value, the next components are going to be much more difficult for you to utilize.
The second component of Discipline is being organized. If you want to earn more than the others around you, you’re going to have to deliver more than they do. Value to your employer shows up with what you do, deliver, and provide when you go to work. For you to take on more activities, you need to be organized!
Consistently saying yes to any ask is not the goal here. Instead, by being organized, you’re positioned to take on and complete more activities in the same amount (or less) of time than your colleagues. This translates into you standing out in a good way to your boss and organization. When you stand out in a good way, you are more likely to get involved in additional projects, placed on new teams, and land a promotion. When these things happen, your check typically gets a bit fatter!
How do I stay organized? Well, two ways really. The first way that I’m about to share with you is what most people aren’t willing to do. This will set you apart in a big way from the rest. The second way I stay organized is more tangible and something you can use right after you finish reading this post.
The first way
I stay organized (and you can to) is by immersing myself in my work. By this, I mean going to work and truly getting involved in what’s going on. I take the time to understand how the company works, who the team members are, what the office politics look like, who can be trusted, what the leadership team values, and what key projects are currently going on. This approach is A LOT different than simply going to work (which so many people do).
If you just show up and do what’s asked of you without any additional thought or trying to connect the dots, you’ll end up being a cog in the wheel. In this case, you’re only adding the bare minimum in the way of value to your boss and the company you work for. Bare minimum leads to you not really understanding what’s going on, which leads to you not being in a position to get more involved, so you can’t add additional value, and therefore don’t make the extra cash.
By immersing yourself in your job and company, the task of being organized gets a lot easier. It’s a little like driving your car. At first, you needed to concentrate quite a bit on what you were doing. After a while, you jump in the car and just know how things work. You got good at driving. By immersing yourself in your job and company, it takes less effort to be organized. You just know what’s going on, who’s important, what projects are impactful, and how you can make a difference. So many people never take the time to immerse themselves!
The second way
I stay organized is by using an app. I stumbled upon Asana several years ago. Asana is a project management tool, but their basic level is great for individuals. You can create projects (I use things like R45 website, Home, Work, etc.), Boards, Lists, and Tasks. The app is super easy to use, and it brings a little fun in when you complete things on your to do list. Many websites and apps like Asana exist but I’ve found this one to be the best for me personally. If you haven’t tried using an app to organize your to-dos, you may want to give it a go.
If you’re looking for a little help on being more organized and effective, check this book out!
Even if you’re the most organized person in the world, you will face obstacles. It could be a colleague that’s a real pain to work with or it could be a project that goes completely sideways on you. For me, there are two important things to remember here.
First, every time you run into an obstacle, it becomes and OPPORTUNITY for you to add value. Most people look at the obstacles with a, here we go again, mindset. If you look at the obstacles as a, here’s my chance to show I can still make things happen, mentality, you set yourself apart. As a boss, I can tell you that I love the second mindset. People that cannot overcome obstacles can only provide so much value.
Second, obstacles are going to present themselves all the time. If you aren’t planning for them or are turning a blind eye, you’re only hurting yourself. The sooner you realize obstacles are a part of everyday life, the sooner you can embrace the mindset that each one of those obstacles is an opportunity. PEOPLE THAT OVERCOME OBSTACLES ARE MORE LIKELY TO GET ADDITIONAL, HIGHER PRIORITY WORK GIVEN TO THEM. That leads to the next component of Discipline.
Doing What Others Won’t
Have you ever been in a meeting where your boss asked if anyone was willing to help with a problem or project? In my experience, that scenario feels a lot like speech class when the professor asked who wants to go next? Everyone shrunk in their seats hoping someone else, anyone else, was next. I’m telling you, shrinking into your seat is a huge lost opportunity!
If you want to make more money at your current job, you need to add more value. If you are willing to do what others won’t, you are going to add more value than those that shrunk into their seats. Take the project on, join the club, stay the extra hour because not everyone will. Before you know it, your boss and the company will take notice. They will come to you for more insight or opinions or activities to take on. In each case, you’re adding more value than others.
Just a note on this one. By doing what others won’t, I’m not suggesting you take EVERYTHING on. If you stay organized, it will be easier for you to do more. Take on what you know you can deliver. To that point, let’s look at the next component in Discipline.
Do What You Say You’re Going To Do
Even if you’re the most organized person in the world and you take on things others won’t, if you don’t deliver, none of it matters. If you take on a task and say you’re going to have it done by Friday, have it done by Friday! While I’ll talk about Trust a lot more in a different post, doing what you say you’re going to builds Trust. When you have that, things change.
Stuff happens. You can set out to get the task done by Friday and then get sick on Tuesday. The best thing you can do is deliver on time, every time. IF you’re going to miss a due date on something, COMMUNICATE THE DELAY BEFORE YOU MISS THE DATE. By being proactive, your boss has the chance to move resources around and still get the task done. If you wait and don’t communicate the upcoming delay, trust fades and future projects, activities, and opportunities end up going to someone else. Be consistent, get it done, and communicate!
The last component of Discipline focuses on details. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in meetings and ask for un update. The response I receive is along the lines of, “I’m not sure” or “I think that’s correct”. When someone lacks the details, it generally means one of two things. First, the person doesn’t care. If they didn’t take the time to learn and know the details, they really didn’t care about the topic at hand.
The second thing it means when someone lacks the details is that they don’t understand. If the person doesn’t understand what’s going on, how can they possibly be adding value? Additionally, if they are capable of understanding but decide not to learn the details, well, that falls under the first point about them not caring. So, whether they don’t care or don’t understand and therefore can’t add value, THESE DEFINITELY WORK AGAINST SOMEONE WHEN THEY ARE TRYING TO GET A RAISE OR PROMOTION.
Wrapping It Up
The components of Discipline I outlined above are not difficult. If you know what you like, can stay organized, overcome obstacles, do what others won’t, do what you say you’re going to do, and know the details, you are WAY AHEAD of most people. While using these components can start happening today, you need to be consistent (always and forever moving forward) if you want to be positioned to get that raise or promotion.
I plan to dig into some of these components in more detail in future posts, but I’d love to hear your comments or questions in the meantime. Now it’s up to you to determine whether or not you have the Discipline to set yourself apart!
Remember check out my Six Steps To Fire!
If you’re looking for a little help on being more organized and effective, this planner is pretty cool!
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