Throughout my life, I have had a lot of different jobs.
I’ve been a server, banker, soldier, salesperson, business owner/entrepreneur, and podcast host. There are tons of others, but that’s not the point.
I’ve been really successful in some, and I’ve struggled really hard in others.
This week, I turned 40. Wow, that feels really weird to say… Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but it’s becoming more and more important the older I get.
Success = intention + discipline
I’ve come to realize that out of all the different jobs and roles I’ve had in my life, the only ones that I enjoyed and were successful at were the ones that I was truly intentional and disciplined about.
Most people have goals. I’ve had and continue to have an endless amount of goals over the years. The difference between achieving them and hoping for them involves both the quality of the goal itself and your intention behind and towards reaching it.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, most of them from me, but every single goal you make for yourself should be a SMART goal. (If you need a refresher, that’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.) It’s not just catchy, it really does make an enormous difference for your chances of success.
But before planning out the steps of your goal, ask yourself what your intention is for it? Why is this goal so important? If the answer is, “I don’t know,” then your intentions aren’t dedicated enough to making it happen.
Then ask, how much intention can I dedicate towards reaching it?
If you don’t know, you’re not ready.
Everything you do in life, not just achieving goals or working your job, requires intention. We all have multiple roles in our lives; parent, employee, partner, friend. All of those roles require different kinds of intention. But to do them well, it does require intention.
We think some of these roles come naturally, but the truth is that your intention and priorities are probably just automatically focused on the things that you think are natural. But the more aware of that you are, the more attention and purpose you can put on maintaining or building those relationships and roles. And the better you’ll be at them.
Even the things you watch, read, listen to, and who you spend time with is chosen with some intention. But sometimes it’s misplaced, and these choices can move you further away — or keep you from — where you want to be.
All of your choices can affect your mindset. That’s why you have to be intentional about them. If your mindset is stuck in negativity and limitations, you’re going to struggle with the right intentions needed for success.
So start thinking a little deeper than you used to about what social media and news you consume, who you hang out with, even what emails you open. You never know what can throw you off track if you let it.
The second half of the equation is discipline.
This one can show up in a number of ways for different people. For me, I need accountability.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, I have a daily morning show with my buddy, Jake, called Morning BIL. We talk about what goals we’re working towards, why they’re important, what KPIs we’re tracking to achieve them, and what progress we’re making. We also set what we call BIL Bets where we have to donate money to a cause we do not believe in if we don’t hit our mini-goals each week.
These actions help me maintain the discipline I need to move me towards my goals.
Additionally, I also journal, take constant notes, write on my whiteboard, use productivity tools, and interact with my calendar throughout each day. This keeps me from having to ever rely on memory alone about what I need to do.
Discipline might look totally different for you.
Here’s the good news/bad news about all of this.
The good news is that if you struggle with either part of this, intention or discipline, they are skills that can be improved.
Find an accountability partner and/or life coach. Discover what inspires you so that you know where to focus your intention and goals. Explore different software that can help with discipline. Journal, meditate, pick up a sport, do whatever you need to do to redirect any negative thoughts or beliefs you may have
All of these will help; they’ll help in all areas of your life.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
But here’s the bad news:
It can be hard work, it can be uncomfortable, and depending on what goals you need to focus on, it might put pressure on some of your relationships.
But the long haul of this will fix that.
Jake and I talk about it all the time. We both strive to build our whole lives, not just our professional ones, with intention. Right now, I don’t devote as much attention towards my family life as I would like to. But I’m the kind of person that has to work on things one at a time.
Fortunately, your successes in one area of your life will spill over into the other areas of your life. And that’s what I’m looking forward to right now.
If you’re not where you want to be, don’t beat yourself up about it. You’ll get there. We all will as long as we keep that recipe for success in the top of our minds.
Ask yourself this question, have I been prioritizing my time and effort towards my goal?
If not, start today.