Extract from Pete's upcoming book The Thought Leaders Practice (co-authored with Matt Church and Scott Stein, printed by Harper Collins)
Getting to black belt is often a three-year journey, and reaching financial independence from your practice can take around 10 years. Most of us aren’t strong at projects that run over this sort of time-frame. We haven’t built the muscles to go the distance and fulfill on long- term goals.
Many make the mistake of thinking that it’s about discipline. We have set out to fulfill long-term projects, failed, and then told ourselves it’s because we are weak and lack structure. Think about the last time you set out to achieve a long-term goal (be it around your exercise, diet, relationship, career, practice, business, etc) and failed. What was your self-talk about that like?
Being highly disciplined can actually be counter-productive — it can keep us going on things that aren’t really serving us.
If it isn’t discipline that has us achieve our long-term goals, what is it? We believe that it’s five things, as shown on the next diagram: choice, methodology, support, accountability, and structure.
Think about any long-term goal that you have achieved, and you will find that all these were present. You made a clear choice to go for that goal or undertake that project. You were committed to it, not just interested in it. Your motivation was strong; there was a payoff for you to get there. You had a methodology; you knew what to do (or you learnt it along the way). You had support; there were people in your life who were on your side. And you had a structure — what to do when.
Now think about a long-term goal that you didn’t achieve. One or more of these would have been missing. Either you hadn’t really chosen the project, you weren’t clear on the methodology (i.e. you didn’t know what to do), you didn’t have the support, someone to be accountable to or the right structures in place of what to do when. And yet, in your mind you were probably saying it was because you weren’t good enough, you didn’t have enough discipline or you were flawed in some way. Not true!