How audacity can overcome a lack of self-discipline.

Discipline is not one of my greatest strengths.

I used to think it was, but I discovered that what I thought was discipline was actually focus.

If you haven’t taken the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment you should. It’s a great tool that will rank 34 different strengths and tell you more about how you are wired.

The Difference Between Discipline and Focus

My StrengthsFinder assessment listed FOCUS as my #2 strength and DISCIPLINE as #25.

So, what’s the difference?

Discipline is all about being orderly and routine. It’s having systems and structure to implement them.

People who are especially talented in the Discipline theme enjoy routine and structure. Their world is best described by the order they create.

Focus is all about zeroing in on something. It’s about having a main purpose, a main interest, or directed attention.

People who are especially talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.

My StrengthsFinder report says this about my “FOCUS” strength:

“It’s very likely that you thrive in environments where goal-setting discussions are commonplace and clearly defined objectives are agreed upon. Chances are good that you act like a rival when you are pitted against others and only one person can be declared the very best at something. Your deep-seated desire to finish in first place probably drives many of your choices and explains much of your behavior. [Note that “COMPETITION” is also a strength of mine. 😊] Because of your strengths, you have little difficulty giving intense effort to projects, problems, or opportunities that capture and keep your attention. Driven by your talents, you are typically exasperated by people who cannot set a clear direction for themselves. You can become annoyed by their inability to ignore distractions that prevent them from reaching their goals, meeting their deadlines, or following their plans. By nature, you can mentally zero in on tasks for hours at a time when you have a goal to reach.

Focus + Audacity = Power Over Discipline

I was listening to Jim McKelvey (co-founder of Square) on the Masters in Business podcast when it struck my how powerful this idea is. We beat ourselves up when we fail to have the discipline we think we need to make something happen. Jim talks about the idea of perseverance and how we all know we need to have grit and a never-give-up mentality when doing something hard. He goes on to say that he’s kind of a quitter except in certain circumstances.

Jim is not a quitter when he feels threatened or terrified.

So, he tends to create situations that put him in those moments. (He admitted that being interviewed on the podcast was one of those situations that made him scared and nervous.)

Jim was talking about the power we can all have as scared humans. If you are audacious enough to cross the line that leads you outside of your comfort zone, and if you are somebody who is willing to do something that is a little bit crazy, then you don’t have to have a lot of self-discipline.

Your self-discipline comes from your survival instinct.

A Life-Hack to Overcome Laziness

This is Jim’s life-hack to overcome laziness…

Put yourself in circumstances where the fear counteracts the lazy.

“I’ve committed to doing this, so now I have to get it done.” So, you don’t have to be disciplined if you are audacious.

Are Your Goals Audacious Enough to Motivate You?

Maybe your goal, or more importantly your “why”, isn’t big enough. Is your “why” so audacious that it makes you terrified?

If your goals don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough. Wherever you are now, think in terms of 10X. What would it take to multiply your current level by 10X? This could be anything:

  • Your free time.
  • Your relationships.
  • Your income.
  • Your investment portfolio.
  • Your # of clients or customers.
  • Your influence.
  • Your health.
  • Your faith.

Living audaciously gets you out of your comfort zone. It’s the key to growth. Work to eliminate any limiting beliefs. Think exponentially. Be audacious!