If you feel lost and unfulfilled, it’s probably because you’re not disciplining yourself
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What builds confidence in a person? Notice the word “builds” in that question. Confidence is not a magical personality trait that you either have, or you don’t.
Fulfillment is not a lottery prize that some people feel, and others are deprived of.
Direction in life is not a navigation system implanted in some of us at birth.
These things take a level of drive and discipline that are attainable for anyone who really wants them.
I’m going to take a guess and it might piss you off.
If it does, that’s good.
You let yourself off the hook way too often.
“It’s no big deal if I skip the gym today, I went yesterday.”
“I’m just going to listen to music instead of read.”
“The deadline isn’t until Friday, I’ll finish it then.”
“The right person will just come along if I keep being myself. I don’t need to change.”
“I’ll get started on my side project when I get my next paycheck.”
While these might look and feel like you’re just giving yourself a break, what you’re REALLY doing is slowly chipping away at your own credibility with yourself.
Ahhh, there’s the rub. How confidence is built.
Confidence is built through YOU establishing credibility with YOU. When you tell yourself you’re going to do something, there is only one person who can ever hold you accountable. Not a parent, not a spouse, not even a life coach (despite how hard we try).
You are the only person laying your head on the pillow at night and knowing what you did or did not do in order to push yourself closer to your goals.
Every time that you let yourself off the hook, you’re prioritizing comfort over progress. You’re failing to challenge yourself to put in the work. You’re effectively letting yourself down.
What mindset results from this? The feeling that you’ll never get there. That you might as well not even start because you’ll fail anyway. That your lack of progress is just because you’re not good enough. You start categorizing yourself as someone who simply cannot achieve what others can, in order to create an excuse that you don’t have the ability, so it’s okay if you quit. You didn’t have a choice, right?
The people who are at the top of their game understand that consistency is more important than anything else when it comes to progress. A small step forward is better than no step at all. High intensity will do you no good in short bursts, unless you’re a sprinter on a track team.
If you find yourself spinning in circles in life, looking back at the past 1, 2, 5, or 10 years, and NOT feeling like you have substantially progressed both personally and professionally, then I challenge you to take a long hard look at your daily activities and ask yourself how often you’re actually giving yourself a slap on the wrist for slacking off.
Some strategies to overcome this challenge:
- Schedule a portion of your day in your calendar to do something that moves you closer to a goal. Write, read, go to the gym, mix a track, reach out to a potential client. Set aside the time.
- Take your large overwhelming goal(s) and break it down into smaller more obtainable short term goals. Have something you can accomplish tomorrow, next week, next month – and so on – to bring you closer to the end game.
- Find an accountability partner or hire a coach who will hold you accountable. Just remember – you will always have to be the one who actually does the work.
- Make sure you are pursuing what you’re TRULY passionate about. If you find your enthusiasm lacking, maybe you are on the wrong path and haven’t been honest about it.
- Put a stipulation in place for yourself. For example: No cell phone until I write another 5 pages of my book.
Regardless of what works for you as an individual, the important part is that you keep yourself on a track to progress and accomplishment. Too many people are living a circular life where they keep spinning around and wondering why they’re not going anywhere.
If you want fulfillment, you need to make progress. To contribute. To advance. Not just professionally, but on a personal level where you feel like you are growing and developing as a human being.
Discipline is not a personality trait, it’s a verb. And one you need to add into your daily habits if you want to unleash your full potential.
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