Over the last few years of coaching people, something has become very clear to me. The answer to almost anything seems to always go back to one of two things: Discipline or Communication.
Now, for some, these two words are often accompanied by curse words. Have you ever thought, “*%@#! discipline…I just want results already!” Or maybe, “%@#! communication… Why don’t they know what I need, want, expected…”
Yeah, I’ve done it, too. So let’s dig deeper and save these important nouns from word purgatory.
A lot of clients come to me wondering how they can get “all this work” done. Wondering how they can make time for family with all the demands of work, wondering how they can reach a certain goal they have been working toward, yet seem to be forever stalled in their progress for “some” reason. They have a million and one reasons as to why they are not there YET. (I won’t say excuses because sometimes they really are good reasons).
I may ask what they have tried in the past to get there.
I may ask what behaviors they have used for past big goals that have worked.
I may ask what they have NOT tried and if they are willing to try something new.
Sometimes these simple questions lead to a breakthrough. It makes me super happy when we find a tip or trick that really does get them unstuck.
And there are times when it seems nothing works. Nothing helps. They lament, “why am I not making progress? It is important. So why am I not doing this? What is holding me back???”
The good news is you typically already know the answer. The bad news is–it is YOU.
Stephen Covey coined the saying, “Common sense isn’t always common practice” and he is so right. We take the easy way out. Bottom line is that if you really examine it, you’ll soon realize that the obstacle in the way of YOU is YOU. And the best way to remove the obstacle? Say it with me… “DISCIPLINE.”
Yeah, I know, I don’t like it either. Discipline may be my least favorite word in the dictionary. Let’s put a spin on it, shall we?
If discipline is a mindset barrier, perhaps we can say “I make the choice to (do this)” or “I will commit to (do this).”
If discipline fails to show up in your daily actions, we can create and test a new routine or perhaps you need some accountability like checking in with someone who will hold you to Nike’s old adage of “just do it!”
The reality is THIS… Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. – Tony Robbins
Have you said “I’ll do it tomorrow” yesterday… and the day before that… and the week before that? So what’s it going to take for you to DECIDE to use discipline to make a change?
Let’s shift gears now. It seems when a client doesn’t have a problem with themselves, they have a problem with someone else.
“Bob always comes to meetings late. And he’s never prepared. Why can’t he do better?”
“I don’t understand why my client never pays their invoices on time. It’s so frustrating!”
“I try to create space on my calendar to move forward my projects, but my teammates constantly schedule meetings for me over that time. And my work never gets done!”
How do I respond??
Well, if you’re lucky enough to have worked with me in any capacity, been a teen in my youth group, or are a friend….you know my broken record response, “Did you TALK to them about it??”
Do you know how many times the answer to that question is NO?!?
I get it. It’s hard to tell people how their actions (or inactions) have impacted you, how they can be/do better, how you need them to be more aware of the ripple effect they cause. OR you could just continue working together this way for the foreseeable future. Well, that doesn’t sound too fun or productive either.
Let me tell you a secret… 99 out of 100 times, the person is not doing things to you to purposely annoy you, disappoint you, or make you angry. So unless you’re dealing with a genuinely toxic person, the first step is acknowledging the fact that people are different!!!
We all do things differently.
I like to sleep in. I am less groggy in the afternoons if I get that extra hour.
I like to procrastinate. I do my best focusing on a task when I’m crunched for time.
I like to think out loud and that’s why communal brainstorming gets me inspired.
But you know what? These things can potentially be VERY annoying to my teammates, and even my family members. I drive the early-risers in my life crazy with my love of sleeping, and all the while I don’t understand their need to be up before the sun.
However….if you talk to me about it and tell me how it doesn’t work for you, I promise you that I’d be more likely to shift my behavior in a way that works for both of us.
A lack of clear communication allows resentment and frustration to build. All the while, I’m going to keep doing what I do naturally until you tell me that we could probably work better together if we each adapted a little. There’s a pretty good chance that I care about our work and the team enough to do my part, even if that means waking up a little earlier for you.
Who are you not talking to about something that doesn’t work for you? How would a simple ask or conversation change things?
Most people are willing to be flexible when we take the time to include them in the conversation and solution. You’ll be amazed and what can be accomplished through communication.
So… Discipline and Communication. Curse words or the answers to everything?
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