Don’t Let the Word “Discipline” Scare You

The word “discipline” makes me think of waking up early to run 10 miles and eating cucumbers and lettuce all day. It sounds like no fun and a lot of work that very few people could stick with. I also think of the military. I was not in the military, but from what I have heard or seen on TV, it sounds extremely difficult with no freedom. As a kid, I was disciplined on a regular basis from my dad, and that was certainly not fun at all.

So what is the kind of discipline I am talking about?

In the book “The 10x Rule” Grant Cardone defines discipline as an orderly, prescribed conduct that will get you what you want”. He says, “Discipline is what you use to complete any activity until the activity – regardless of how uncomfortable – becomes your normal operating procedure.”

In the “Mastery Journal”, John Lee Dumas defines discipline as “being able to stay on task and still make progress even when you’re feeling unmotivated, distracted, or discouraged.”

So how does discipline help Finance and Accounting? Below are 5 ways.

1. Discipline Saves You Time

The best way that discipline saves time is through consistent financial reporting. If your accounting and financial reports are updated monthly, it will be easier to update and take less time than if you let them build over months or even years (yes, I have seen this a few times). Cleaning up months or years of accounting and financial reports is always much more difficult and time-consuming than if you just do this as you go. For more information, check out “Maintenance is better Clean-up“.

2. Discipline Gives You Better Information

If you do update your revenue, expenses, and Balance Sheet on a monthly basis, you can use this information to make better financial decisions. Consistent financials are great for trending and forecasting your cash flow. If you want to hire employees, buy equipment, or need financing, it is helpful to see your cash flow trends. It is significantly easier to make these decisions with consistent trends and financial reporting by month. Check out “5 Ways Planning Helps Your Business and Life” for more information as to why a financial forecast is helpful.

3. Discipline is Proactive 

If you have discipline, you are in control of your calendar instead of waiting for someone to tell you what to do. Have you been on email all day before and didn’t get anything done that you set out that day? Email is a great example of being reactive in many cases. It is a necessary evil in my mind for communication but can derail your day.  Be proactive and use the best part of your day to focus on the tasks you need to accomplish to meet your goals for your business. My time is in the morning. I have found that if I don’t start my day being disciplined, then the rest of the day tends to be highly unproductive.

4. Discipline is Essential for Revenue Growth

Business development requires a consistent approach to networking, reaching out to people, and following up. Some people do business development all the time, and others are performing a hybrid of business development, business strategy, management, client services, and operational work. This depends highly on the size of the company as to how many roles you fill. Any business owner needs to have a disciplined, repetitive approach to business development. You should not let up on this so that the momentum grows your business. This takes discipline because there may be days you don’t feel like doing business development. Client or employee issues might take over and you will think you don’t have time for business development.

Developing business helps in many areas. There are unintended benefits that could help your existing clients. I find that by networking, I have better ideas to help my business grow at new levels. Who wants to sit around answering emails all day anyway?

5. Discipline Sets the Example for Others

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams.

People want to follow successful people and the most successful people I know are disciplined. We all need to have employees, contractors, consultants, and colleagues following our lead of accomplishing more and making a larger impact. A good approach to discipline with integrity will be essential. We should all remind ourselves of this regularly.

Summary

Discipline provides many other benefits, so why does it scare us? Is it because we get disappointed when we get off track? Is it because other people seem to be having much more fun with their undisciplined lifestyle?

Do you want to save time? Do you want better financial information? Would you rather have control of your time, or do you want someone else to be in charge of your time? Don’t we all desire more revenue growth? Don’t we want to be a good example for our employees, contractors, or even friends and family? If so, then we need discipline. Let’s all embrace it. We might mess up, but just move on and get back on the discipline track to success.