Discipline is becoming my new favorite word. It’s the action-oriented word to the more generic “focus.” People struggle with focus, how to define it, and measure it. Discipline makes more sense. You know if you’re being disciplined or not –in everything you do– inside and outside of your startup. It’s pretty hard to lie to yourself about it.
You can’t do much of anything in life without discipline.
And yet, in a frantic world of startup craziness, discipline quickly goes out the window. I have to continuously remind myself of its importance. I have to continuously fight my own nature, distractions, occasional bouts of laziness, grumpiness and more so that I can stay disciplined and accomplish what needs doing.
Discipline is necessary for continuous process improvement, but it can be taken to an extreme as well. While you can create systems and rules of conduct for anything, you don’t want to eliminate creativity and freedom of expression. You don’t want automatons working for you; at least not in a startup that’s genuinely innovating and solving complex problems. There has to be a balance. And that balance itself requires discipline.
Discipline is about training. You can train yourself (and get help from others) in an effort to become more disciplined. I’m going to keep working at this myself to see how I can improve.