It’s tough to quit the safety of your day job for the uncertainty of running your own business. You’re not guaranteed a steady income, you have to set your own schedule and you are personally responsible for the success or failure of your company. As you would expect, it takes a different set of tools to succeed at entrepreneurship than it does to rise through the ranks at your corporate position.
The Dalai Lama says “An undisciplined mind leads to suffering, while a disciplined mind leads to happiness.” The importance of disciplines in succeeding as a business owner cannot be overstated. You have to form habits which will sustain you through the tough times and help you make the correct decisions.
Let’s take a look at some disciplines you should add to your life if you want to succeed.
1. Mindful breathing
If you read that and thought “How can something as mundane as breathing possibly help me with my work?” think back to the last time you remember being under severe stress. Do you remember how difficult it was to breathe? Now think back to the last time you were out for a leisurely stroll or indulging in a jovial conversation with a loved one. You’ll notice that your breathing patterns were completely different.
The way we breathe has a significant impact on the way we perceive things and our ability to make decisions. The best martial artists are all masters of the breath. When you have control over your breath, you are automatically more lucid and less likely to experience emotional outbursts.
For ten minutes a day, practice the art of breathing. Just find a quiet place where you will be undisturbed for the duration of your breathing exercises. Set a timer on your smartphone and then close your eyes and count from 1 to 10 repeatedly while you just relax and breathe.
2. Spell out uncertainties
“What if?” is a bad thing to think about when you’re brainstorming. The “what if?” question will give you the seed of an idea, but if you don’t pursue the thought to its logical end, it will just create more doubt in your mind. The next time you’re faced with a “what if?” make sure you take the time and answer the question as best you can.
For example, say you’re working on your website and you think of something like “What if I used plugin A instead of plugin B?” In this situation, instead of leaving the thought hanging in the ether, take a few minutes to write down the exact ramifications of choosing one plugin over the other. This simple act will allow you to properly consider alternative options and break the habit of using “what if?” as an escape from your current predicament.
3. Find someone you’re accountable to
Accountability is absolutely key if you want to stick to the timeline you’ve established for achieving your goals. Without an accountability partner, it’s easy to let deadlines slip by because you can rationalize these decisions to yourself. If you have someone in your life who will make sure you stick to your word, you will be more motivated to accomplish things.
If you’re looking for an accountability partner, you can find someone in your personal network who has compatible goals. If that’s not currently an option, you can head online and find communities like Coach.me or Stickk where you will be able to find people to hold you accountable.
Disciplines are absolutely essential to your success as an entrepreneur. Small habits, when compounded daily, can turn into an unstoppable avalanche of progress. Use the disciplines above to make sure you’ve given yourself the best chance of running a successful business.