COACH YOU BLOG
DISCIPLINE VS REGRET
Jim Rohn, American Entrepreneur, said “In life there are two kinds of pain – the pain of DISCIPLINE, and the pain of REGRET. The pain of discipline weighs ounces, but the pain of regret weighs tons”
Whilst I believe this statement belongs to the 20th Century, I think Jim Rohn is onto something here.
First of all let’s look at the title Discipline versus Regret. What does the word Discipline mean for you, when you are disciplined how does that feel. So there’s a sense of control here, there’s a sense of being on top of things. There’s also a sense of burden, self-flagellation, of “you must do this”, of constriction, control and rigidity. I’m not saying Discipline is a bad thing, but that’s how it feels (to me at least).
And the word Regret, when you think about a regret you have in your life. Something you wish you had done, some opportunity you didn’t take advantage of. What’s that feeling like?
It’s a sinking gut feeling,.. yuk. It is somehow even heavier, slower, lower down in our body.
That’s what’s made me think. When I set out to write this blog, I thought it was all about “How do you get the motivation to do the things you want to do?” And about the difference between Regret and Discipline. The more I got into how those words make you feel; the more I realised that the words are key. The words we use with our self. I’ve talked about self-limiting beliefs and the soundtrack in our minds with you all before and this is part of that. More than that, I mean the language we use to describe ourselves and how we are feeling and to use them that to change our state.
I believe the words have energy. There are those out there that belief in this idea of energy and there’s perhaps a lot to it. According to quantum physics all the atoms in the universe vibrate at different levels and if something is quite hard it is vibrating at a much slower level and when it’s vibrating fast, it’s at a faster level, we can’t feel it touch it or see it because it’s vibrating so quickly. And as human beings our molecules are vibrating too. In fact, we can’t see the molecules, we only see the spaces between them. So, our bottoms are not actually touching the seat on the chair – there is a gap – mind blown!
And our vibration changes with our mood. And we feel it in ourselves don’t we? When we are happy and excited it’s like a fluttering inside, a sense of joy, that energy is fast and we speak more quickly, we can run more quickly, when we have that level of energetic vibration.
And when not, when we are down or depressed or sad, it internalises, goes within. The ultimate slowness is when we are in fear and powerlessness. Like facing the tiger, unable to move … we freeze.
And, if we are vibrating, we are giving off an energy that actually we can subconsciously sense in each other. We have all come across people who are very high energy who we love to be around because they are eager, excited, passionate and happy. And, of course, the reverse is true.
SO HOW DO WE CHANGE OUR ENERGETIC STATE TO MOTIVATE OURSELVES?
It’s easy to say “discipline yourself” when you need motivation. We don’t have enough energy to make ourselves do that all the time.
We are animals, let’s be clear about that. Neuroscience tells us that within the brain the amygdala, part of the limbic system, is responsible for emotions, survival and memory amongst other things. Professor Steve Peters describes this as our Chimp brain. It has existed for many thousands of years, far longer than our “human brain” or prefrontal cortex and is, he says, seven times stronger. It is little wonder then that we respond to events emotionally first and the logical brain takes a while to catch up!
So our usual strategy to set goals from our logical brain is already flawed:
I want to lose 10lbs: Eat less, move more … easy!
If it were that easy why are so many of us overweight?
Because, we know we SHOULD lose weight, we might be fed up of clothes not fitting, we might want to have more energy but the minute anyone offers us a chocolate our resolve goes out of the window because our emotional chimp goes YUMMY and our logical brain can’t always respond quickly enough.
And the same is true of many challenging goals – we want to run a marathon – but our chimp can’t be bothered to get up early every morning to train and we soon fall behind.
We want to increase our sales but our chimp starts screaming in fear at the idea of picking up the ‘phone.
So, where do we start?
At the beginning of the process we want to set a VISION. This kind of visioning is vital if you are intending to build your business, so you have a whole raft of people working with you. Being able to vision what you want from your business and use the words to influence people and enable them to align to your vision, to empower them to work towards your vision is the art of leadership.
Harnessing those powerful words, your Values, the things that are important to you. Using those high vibrating words that get them eager and excited to work to your vision, is the art of being a successful leader
Think about what your vision is and think really clearly about it, it’s not just a question of “Yes, I want to double my turnover in the next ten years” because that comes from the prefrontal cortex. Look at the emotion of that, get your Chimp involved, get their buy-in or it will never happen. What would that enable you to do? Remember money is nothing, in and of itself, if anything it triggers gremlins or self-limiting beliefs. Move beyond that, what will that give you? Really imagine the successful outcome of the goal – run it like a film in your imagination, in the same way that athletes do when they are preparing for a race. Use as many senses as physically possible. Put some music on as you close your eyes and see yourself achieving success. Light a scented candle, spray the room or scent on yourself.
What will that outcome really give you? That fast sports car you lust after? Will it give you that amazing holiday across the African savannahs, will it give you the money to set your children up in their own homes? And what will it be like to hand that money to them, to see the joy on their faces as you do that? What will it be like to feel that joy within your body, to sense all the feelings in that moment with all your senses.
How does it feel to be driving that jaguar, trecking across the African Savannah. That new car smell, the hot earth.
What does it feel like for YOU? How does it feel? Do a complete body check. Who is with you? The sensation of passion, the excitement, the empowerment and joy, to give the people you love what you want them to have. How do you feel that in your body. Really take yourself into that feeling with all the senses.
Where are you experiencing this success? Once you have this vision for your success then write it all down, get complete clarity on the impact your success will have on every aspect of your life. Then repeat this every day until the success is achieved. Yes really. Start living and breathing it. All decisions are then made based upon that outcome.
And you’ll bring that joy throughout your day, helping you overcome the things you struggle to do.
That joy has us vibrate at such a high level, such a positive, joyful, loving level that in that moment we bring people with us, in that moment we give off this lightness, positivity, power and joy and in doing that we bring abundance to us. They want to feel part of that magic. They want to be part of what you’ve got “I want some of what she’s having” is the quote from When Harry Met Sally. So when you’ve done your morning visualisation, think of those three that can take you to that place in each day. Maybe it’s a phone call, that spreadsheet, maybe it’s writing that 40 second pitch. Think of those three things you are going to do each day to take you to your goal and see if that works for you. And if it doesn’t, there are lots more tools and tricks you can use.
We have a very small capacity for self-control and decision making in our prefrontal cortex and so we put in place structures which will support the outcome we want:
1. Organise the steps towards your goal around your energy – do the most challenging tasks your goal requires when your energy is high – night owl vs early bird
2. Lump all the similar effort together
3. Start with a positive – call a favourite client first, call a positive friend first
4. Prepare all the information you need on the clients you are going to call in advance
5. Avoid procrastination – set the scene for success – wear your kit to bed, water on the desk etc
6. Give yourself a deadline with a reward at the end of it
7. Celebrate and reward even the smallest step towards the goal
8. Get support – friend, buddy, coach, mentor for acknowledgement and accountability – share responsibility (car share to the gym, or compete on sales calls made)
9. Learn to manage your self-limiting beliefs, reframe negative self-talk.
Key to this whole experience is self-knowledge and self-care. Forget about beating ourselves up “A la Lord Sugar and You’re Useless” we really do want to manage that self-talk – words matter
Conclusion: So it is my belief that Jim Rohn’s comment is from another century. Whilst we can understand the sentiment it feels like the 1980s way of doing business … It’s my way or the highway. It’s the Lord Sugar school of motivation “You’re Fired”! All stick and no carrot!
It comes from a time when we made people do things. When people Had to do things in order to earn the money, in the factory setting or the serfdom. We were forced, because we HAD to pay taxes, to work for the bosses.
It’s not our natural state of being, it’s our natural state of being to play in this beautiful world. But here we are, transitioning from the 20th Century into the 21st Century and we still have to pay tax! And so to some extent the discipline stick works, you have to pay the tax man at the end of the month, so let’s get it done. Regret is a complete waste of energy and the slow-down of energy will damage your forward motion. Instead we can lift our energy to that of hope, strength and optimism by looking at the learning:
Next time I shall do this. I am the person who will jump on the opportunity when it arises again, that is the person I am, that is who I am.
And It is not about beating ourselves up, it is about engaging in the work that we do for the sake of the outcomes that we want in each and every day. How much more powerful if we can lift ourselves out of bed in the morning with a sense of joy and purpose, being on purpose and doing all those things you have to do with a sense of joy, of lightness, of happiness because it’s taking us where we want to go.
There are far more useful, powerful and joyful ways of motivating ourselves to achieve our goals. Finding the one which works for you will be trial and error. With clients we keep working through until one lands. As we grow and develop, different techniques work at different times. As things fall into place new forms of motivation and focus become effective in enabling our success in joy and freedom.