Where to start?

“Discipline equals Freedom.”- Jocko Willink

As I prepared my notes for our Atlanta Manager’s meeting yesterday, I had but one focus- discipline. I put together a quick and easy lesson for the team, and so I’m not going to convolute it here. It’s a system that I try and use every month to assess what needs work, make a plan around it, and get to work.

To give a little back story: In the last month, we’ve fully reopened three restaurants. It has been essentially like opening new restaurants because we started over in all of them. We renovated each store, put all staff (old and new) through our HOOTS program (hiring, onboarding, orientating, training and sustaining), revamped all of our training manuals, and completely wrote new beverage and food menus. It’s been hectic, to say the least.

So when deciding on what to talk with the team about, it was pretty simple to choose the most basic thing- discipline. Generally speaking, if you can apply discipline to a schedule, budget, or project, it will be easier. The side effect will be plenty of additional freedom. You’re thinking, wait, discipline and freedom are legitimately on the opposite ends of the spectrum. But, in fact, true freedom only comes from living a life of discipline.

Say you want more financial freedom. Then you’d better stick to a very disciplined budget. Making money is one thing, being able to keep it is an entirely different story. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” If you want to have more free time, then you MUST stick to a very disciplined time management system. This will allow you to say “NO!” to those things that waste so much of our time. Junk email, constant facebook scrolling, unnecessary phone calls and meetings, or events that you know you’ll regret attending anyway. We’ve all been there!

So, what is self-discipline? Self-discipline is the ability to resist impulses, maintain focus, and see projects through to completion. In your own life, it is your persistence and willpower in dedicating your attention to a task until it is satisfactorily finished. Individuals who are high on self-discipline are not easily distracted. They can maintain concentration despite other priorities or requirements for their attention. Does any of this also apply in a leadership position or in the workplace? I think so…

After discussing the above, we went to the next step. Where can we add more discipline in our lives and workplace so that we have more freedom? These were the answers. I would highly encourage you to do the same thing.

Where can we become more disciplined in our personal life?

  1. Going to bed earlier, waking up earlier.
  2. Call a friend/loved one at least twice a week within the first hour of your day.
  3. Schedule off days to maximize efficiency.
  4. Sweat for an hour a day- no matter what it is.
  5. Read at least 1-2 books a month.

Where can we become more disciplined in our workplace?

  1. Holding people accountable for actions required in a restaurant setting.
  2. Check emails 2-3 times a day- create a batch system so we aren’t constantly checking emails.
  3. Watch youtube videos on Microsoft office to expand knowledge- self-development
  4. Make personal punch lists/ checklists- plan your work, work your plan.
  5. Eat the frog first, and everything else will be easy. Do your hardest task first.

These are the actual things listed by our team. I was blown away for several reasons. Firstly, they were all being honest and very vulnerable which is paramount to real teamwork. Secondly, these are the things that I AM ALWAYS WORKING ON! Lastly, they cover most of the wheel of life or the 5 F’s as I like to call them Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, and Friends.

Next, I challenged each of them to use the 80/20 rule (my favorite because I’m lazy) and just choose one from each section and start today on it! If you choose the most effective one, you’ll get 80% of the results of all of them!

Discipline begets discipline. It’s like a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger your discipline becomes. The stronger you get at it, the more it works and the more benefit you get from it. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. So, what’s the strategy for becoming more disciplined? TO GO AND DO IT! Start today. Do not wait!