In Stillness Is the Key Ryan Holiday asks, “Isn’t the whole point of greatness that you’re freed from trivial rules and regulations? That you can do whatever you want?”
Holiday responds, “Ah, but the greats know that complete freedom is a nightmare. They know that order is a prerequisite of excellence and that in an unpredictable world, good habits are a safe haven of certainty.”
In my 20+ years coaching, and 20 more as a business owner before that, I’ve discovered the difference between success and failure is routines and habits.
My customers who have routines, who are disciplined about their days, their practices, achieve double the results the normal business owner achieves.
They maintain disciplined rituals in pursuit of their goals, and seldom get sidetracked. Those customers who haven’t developed these skills quickly discover the value in our meeting rhythms Strategic Discipline’s coaching habits provide.
One of my customers, a successful dental office in Houston, struggled to get beyond $10M in revenue. He never understood and refused to buy into the meeting rhythm routine. His leadership team would show up, yet he rarely attended. He failed to understand the Chinese philosopher XUNZI quote, “If a person puts even one measure of effort into following ritual and the standards of righteousness, he will get back twice as much.”
Our engagement lasted 9 months.
Routine Sets You Free
“Most people wake up to face the day as an endless barrage of bewildering and overwhelming choices, one right after another. What do I wear? What should I eat? What should I do first? What should I do after that? What sort of work should I do? Should I scramble to address this problem or rush to put out this fire? Needless to say, this is exhausting. It is a whirlwind of conflicting impulses, incentives, inclinations, and external interruptions. It is no path to stillness and hardly a way to get the best out of yourself.” Holiday shares.
Making habits our ally instead of our enemy is the message psychologist William James spoke about.
“For this, we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague. The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.”
Routines build around us a day and a life that is moral and ordered and still—and in so doing, create a kind of bulwark against the chaos of the world and free up the best of ourselves for the work we do.
A master is in control. A master has a system. A master turns the ordinary into the sacred. And so must we.
Watch a Master, Ryan Holiday, Why The Stoics Believed in the Power of Routine
Establish a Routine - Double Results
It was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who defined freedom as the opportunity for self-discipline. [State of the Union Address: Dwight D. Eisenhower (January 10, 1957)]
Freedom, power, and success require self-discipline. Because without it, chaos and complacency move in. Discipline, then, is how we maintain that freedom. When our thoughts are empty and our body is in its groove, we do our best work.
Routines can be:
- Time-based. The former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink gets up at 4:30 a.m. and posts a picture of his watch to prove it each morning. Also see: Derek Jeter’s Success Habits & Routines
- Focused on order or arrangement. Confucius insisted his mat be straight or he would not sit.
- Built around a tool or a sound or a scent. Monks are called to meditation by the chiming of a monastery bell; other monks rub a zuko incense on their hands before ceremonies and meditations.
- Religious or faith based. The Jews have kept the Sabbath for thousands of years, Abad Ha’am once said, just as the Sabbath has kept the Jews.
Holiday shares, “When we not only automate and routinize the trivial parts of life, but also make automatic good and virtuous decisions, we free up resources to do important and meaningful exploration. We buy room for peace and stillness, and thus make good work and good thoughts accessible and inevitable. To make that possible, you must go now and get your house in order. Get your day scheduled. Limit the interruptions. Limit the number of choices you need to make. If you can do this, passion and disturbance will give you less trouble. Because it will find itself boxed out.”
Discipline is at the core of Jim Collins Good to Great principles, “A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.”
It’s what distinguish great businesses from their competition. It’s why companies who practice Collins Good to Great principles achieve more than double the results for their efforts.
The Value of Routine to double results brings confidence to Positioning Systems Brand Promise Guarantee. Strategic Discipline develops the Habits for business success. Contact us today to schedule an exploratory meeting.
Growth demands Strategic Discipline.
To build an enduring great organization, requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, to produce superior results, and make a distinctive impact in the world.
Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.
Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.
Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:
Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.
NEXT BLOG – Elevate Remote Workers Performance
The new normal suggests we’re not going back to the traditional office setting. Remote Workers are a fixture in post COVID. Aubrey Daniels and Gallup have researched and shared keys to elevating remote worker performance, and how to know if your leadership style isn’t working. We’ll explore these, next blog.