This is the 3rd and last in a series of 3 Steps to Extraordinary Success. So once you’ve identified AND accepted your dream – or better yet – embraced it – and made a determined decision to pursue it, kind of like Rocky Balboa when he said to his opponent, “Go for it!” – how do you develop the 3rd step to achieving extraordinary success? That step is the discipline to do it.
There are many techniques and strategies, but here I’ll just share 3 simple, yet powerful ones, you can use immediately.
1. MAKE A PROMISE – KEEP A PROMISE
Practice being aware of what you say you’ll do. LISTEN to yourself. Treat each commitment as a promise – make them sparingly and keep them religiously. We need to also realize that we say things that others take as implied promises. If you say you’ll do something, then the world, but most importantly YOU, must be able to “go to the bank” on the FACT you’ll do it.
When my children were younger and needed to go someplace and I would offer to take them, many times they would say, “we want mom to take us because we can’t count on you.” Too many times I said I’d be home in time to take them to an activity and would just barely make it, causing them stress as they had others counting on them. Finally fed up, my then 9-year-old son tapped me on the chest and said, “Dad, when we’re supposed to be somewhere at a certain time, it’s like we’ve promised someone. Listen dad, here’s how it really is – when you have to be somewhere, early is on time, on time is late, and late is absolutely unacceptable!” “OUCH!” Pain inflicted by a 9 year old – and lesson learned.
It’s been said that it’s a greater compliment to be trusted than to be loved. Haven’t you ever known someone who loved a person, but didn’t trust them? MAKE A PROMISE – KEEP A PROMISE! It’s the difference between a casual contribution of convenience and a conscious commitment of character – and it’s ALL the difference in the world – especially, in the world of success and achieving your dreams.
2. BUILD AND USE STRUCTURES, SYSTEMS OF SUPPORT
Develop, hire, outsource, put in place methods, routines, structures and systems that will support you achieving your dream by forcing – or reinforcing – you to do what is needed. A simple example would be wanting to get up early in the morning to walk or jog, but repeatedly wimping out on your goal by making excuses to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock. Am I the only one who’s done that? When we do, we are simply losing the battle of mind – over – mattress.
What’s one structure you could use? Get an exercise buddy who you know will be waiting on the corner for you. By being accountable for your commitment, you’re more likely to keep it.
A great example of someone who successfully used the strategy of methodically relying on a structured routine was gymnast Peter Vidmar. Years ago he committed to himself and his coach that he would be the last one out of the gym each day, and would undertake his hardest and most concentrated practice for 15 minutes each day after everyone was gone.
At the Olympic level, that’s tough to do – especially when everyone else is trying to do the same thing! But he did. Just 15 minutes a day – 6 days a week – for those many years. He made a promise and kept a promise. He employed a structured routine that reinforced his best. It gave him the confidence and winner’s edge that comes with such integrity and commitment. He was in the process of living his dream and he achieved it – 4 Olympic Gold Medals!
3. THE SELF-DISCIPLINE OF VISUALIZATION
Denis Waitley called self-discipline “the power of doing within, when you’re doing without.” You have probably heard of the process of visualization, but may think it couldn’t make a difference, or think you don’t have the time. I’m here to tell you it DOES work, and it provides the fuel to feed the fire that keeps your dreams burning, possible, and alive. It helps keep the things you set in motion – MOVING!
The critical thing to understand is that, just like self-talk, we all engage in visualization in some manner every day. But when we control it, by deliberate practice, we help control the results we experience.
The account has been recorded of Major James Nesmeth – prisoner in Vietnam for 7 years in solitary confinement in a cell 4-1/2 feet high and 5 feet long. During his solitary confinement he committed to “playing” a full round of golf each day. He had been an average weekend golfer, shooting in the mid-to-low 90’s. Each and every day he “practiced” walking each fairway, picking up and smelling each blade of grass, feeling the breeze, swinging his clubs, etc.
He never actually touched a club that entire time. Since he couldn’t go anywhere and wasn’t in a hurry, he took just as long to play 18 holes in his mind as it would have really taken. Not once did he miss a shot – never hit a hook or slice, and never missed a putt. He played 18 holes – 4 hours a day – 7 days a week – for 7 years -vividly visualizing and focusing on his dream. A few days after his release, even though he was weak and frail, having been cooped up in that small 4 -1/2 feet high, 5 feet long cell – he played his first “real” round of golf and took 20 strokes off his former game! It was JUST LIKE HE HAD PICTURED IT in his mind!
Three simple techniques – (1) make a promise – keep a promise; (2) set up structures and systems of support and (3) the self-discipline of visualization. By the way, you don’t really have to do this 4 hours a day. I have clients who find 2 or 3 daily 20-minute “visualization workouts” powerful and very effective over time.
You see, people who are successful at achieving and living their dreams understand that we shape our habits, then our habits shape us. They don’t like doing unpleasant tasks any more than we do, but they get help when needed – often from coaches – to develop the habits of success in doing those little things – that make a BIG difference! It’s really simple to them. They know we become slaves to our habits, so the key is to develop great habits – habits of success – and then confidently surrender!
What’s YOUR dream? When you’re pursuing it, life is ALWAYS more fun and fulfilling. Remember, you’ve got to have a dream to make a dream come true. But don’t let it overwhelm you – because you DON’T have to do it alone. There are role models, support systems, and experienced coaches – all of which can help accelerate your confidence, competence and rate of success! GO for it! I know you CAN do it!
Dare to Dream – Determine to Decide – Discipline to Do – Three steps to achieving the extraordinary success that will help you step into your greatness and achieve The Winner’s Edge!