“Discipline equals freedom.”
– Jocko Willink – Former Navy Seal Commander of operation Bruiser in Iraq
Fear sets in as anyone dabbling in entrepreneurship contemplates the magnitude of the task and the risks taken. Your stomach might also turn and your mouth become desert dry as you start facing the consequences of a dilemma that you have judged as impossible to manage or solve. An invisible object seems to press hard against your chest as you attempt to figure out how you are going to pay the bills with your cashflow under severe strain.
Symptoms of fear such as the aforementioned can test your resolve and assist you to reach a higher level of consciousness or it can numb you to a degree of total debilitation. Your choice, no one can overcome the fear for you.
Jocko Willink an ex-Navy Seal commander turned Business Leadership coach sites discipline as an antidote to fear. The more you practise even in situations when you do not want to and the harder you practise consistently the fear of failure diminishes in proportion to your conscious effort. I have not met Jocko Willink in person yet sincerely hope to. I am however a fan of his podcast and his books.
Besides being a decorated Navy Seal commander and respected task force leader in the much-publicised operation Bruiser in Iraq he is also reported to be a daily practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu an art that certainly requires a high level of discipline and humility, when a practitioner does not display a character of the aforementioned traits the art will teach it to him or her the hard way.
The reader simply has to listen to Jockos’ intense speech or watch a video on his Facebook page to realise what a lifelong practise of discipline can do to a man’s’ state of mind and what discipline can mould you into. Fearless Entrepreneurship is what we need in South Africa; fearless leadership is what we sorely miss in this potentially wonderful country of ours that is if we are as a collective truly serious about making this country great.
Fearless does not mean arrogant, it most certainly does not allude to ignorance, and above all it most certainly does not mean being totally self-absorbed.
Serve others, your friends, your family, your employees, and your customers through your fearlessness and through your brave action
Fearless in this context does not portray the superhuman ability of never experiencing the emotion or feelings around fear, it instead describes the cultivation of discipline to such a degree that you harness the experience of the senses as it confronts you with apprehension and turn it into brave action. There is no sense in denying that entrepreneurship is extremely hard work and not for everybody. Nobody told you that this was going to be easy, yet the journey of entrepreneurship can be extremely rewarding and positively challenging.
Motivation and Willpower is an internal matter, no one can motivate you, you are the decision maker as an entrepreneur. The only thing that a mentor or coach can do for you is to assist in creating an environment wherein it is easier for you to motivate yourself. Motivation and Willpower is fickle however and something as small as a craving can overcome your level of motivation. Discipline is not fickle and when cultivated as a habit through repeated work and sacrifice a high level of discipline can overcome almost anything.
Turn the volume down on the excuses that you use to avoid being a “disciple of discipline”. The most popular ones that has most likely run through every entrepreneur’s mind, at least at some stage are:
- “I do not have the time.”
- “I am so busy.”
- “I am tired, let me hit that snooze button.”
- “That person de-motivated me.” (As if motivation was an external factor.)
- “I am not naturally gifted.”
“So, and so is just lucky, and I am not so lucky.” (When you witness the blood and tears and hours spent on honing their respective crafts you can find to your surprise that success can often appear to be luck, yet the truth more often than not is that successful entrepreneurs in general faced extreme hardships and had to work extremely hard before the appearance of luck occurred.)
“It is not my fault, it is … (fill in the blank) fault.” (The blame game has become an international sport with I believe more players than soccer, basketball, baseball, and American football combined.)
“Yes, but it is so hard.”
“I’ll leave it to the experts.” (And then you do not actually leave it to the experts you simply leave it undone.)
Continuously paint your excuses on the canvass of your mind and that will be your beliefs which in turn logically will affect your actions negatively. This is your choice and your responsibility as an entrepreneur just remember that you are the painter.
The above statements naturally lead to the follow up question of: “How do I reach a point of fearlessness if I already am in a lifelong spiral of apprehension, worry and concern?” I am confident that various answers exist to this question and with this writing I challenge the reader to diligently take on the effort of research and practise to find an answer that best works for her or him. Simply to offer help in the process I offer the following as a possible answer:
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
– Mark Twain
Start small as to not overwhelm yourself with too much and sudden change. Begin with simple things to slowly start cultivating a more disciplined approach to business and to life:
- Have a morning ritual even if it is just a few minutes in the beginning to start the day in a positive frame of mind. You could start your day by reading a few pages of a book that challenges you to higher level of thinking. You could pray or meditate. Do some exercise. Experiment until you find a morning ritual that works for you.
- Make your bed. It can be the simplest things that when put together results in a more disciplined and better form of you.
- Cut out one bad thing at a time from your diet. Cut out bread this week. Next week maybe sugar.
- Start exercising even if you start with a five-minute walk.
- Start a journal. I call this “bleeding on paper”, and from personal experience I can honestly say that if I did not have the therapeutic device of regular writing at my disposal I most probably would have had a severe panic attack a day. The purpose of this journal is to give an honest account of your struggles fears and progress as you slowly advance on this journey of discipline.
- Follow those that you respect and learn from on Facebook, listen to their podcasts, read their books and or blogs. Never stop learning. Increase the time spent slowly but surely on this and eventually ensure that the average time spent on learning by far exceeds the time spent on watching TV. Act on what you learn and you might just be very surprised at the results.
“Accustom yourself to tireless activity.”
– Supreme Commander Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov.
Have a clear written statement of your purpose and your various goals that you often refer to. Fix your mind and actions on making your purpose a reality and steady yourself through disciplined practise and lessen fear, for failures will approach to test your resolve and discipline.
I root for and have South-African entrepreneurs close to my heart. I sincerely hope to see you on the other side where we all are in a state of fearlessness. Until then do the work, repeatedly and tirelessly.