I remember having a discussion a few years ago with my dentist. I asked him, “Do I really need to floss my teeth every day?” He answered, “Only if you want to keep your teeth for the rest of your life.”
I hate flossing. I don’t know why, but I do. It only takes a few seconds, isn’t labor intensive, and doesn’t require much skill. I had gotten in the habit of taking days off in the process in the name of “saving time.” The reality was I was being lazy. Based on the conversation with my dentist, I wasn’t the only one that fell victim to sloth when it came to daily flossing. While flossing ones teeth isn’t difficult, it does require motivation and discipline.
My motivation quickly became keeping my teeth. Both parents had full dentures, and that end result wasn’t appealing to me. The discipline was (and is) the harder part. Every time I consider taking a “day off,” I force myself to think of the consequences. It’s easy to say, “It’s only one day.” But that’s how bad habits start.
I always talk to my clients about metrics. I needed some qualitative results to measure improvement. My last cleaning several months ago provided that. The dental hygienist exclaimed, “This is the best visit you’ve had. Your teeth and gums look great!” To add to it, my experience was less uncomfortable and basically painless. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
I’ve often heard my professional mentor Alan Weiss say that logic makes people think and emotion makes people act. I expressed this yesterday at a client workshop I was giving for their leadership team. If you want to be influential with your direct reports and staff, then you’d better fully understand the concepts of motivation and discipline.
That being said, it starts with you. Ask yourself these 3 questions:
What are you not doing now that you need to start doing (e.g. delegating, training, your own professional development)?
What are you doing now that you need to stop doing (e.g. worrying, over thinking, procrastinating)?
What can you do today that is repeatable that will help you grow daily both professionally and personally (e.g. reading, marketing, publishing, reducing distractions, etc.)
What’s your motivation? Is it increasing revenue/income to improve your lifestyle and reduce your stress? Is it uncovering discretionary time so you can focus on the things you like and are good at doing? Is it simply having more fun?
Now you have to implement. That’s the discipline part and this is harder. Heck, I had to talk myself into flossing my teeth this morning (which made me think of writing this article)! You need to find some internal trigger that forces you to take action. It’s usually that motivation that drives you. You can use external forces like business coaches and mentors or accountability partners. I’ve had coaching clients admit they hate the idea of not being able to be accountable to me when we meet, so they force themselves to get the work done. Whatever it takes…you need to find it for yourself.
Final piece of the puzzle – once you’ve figured it out, you need to be able to transfer that to people you influence. The best way to do this is not the old school authoritarian approach (i.e. “I need you to do this…”). You must find what motivates them and encourage them with that result (i.e. “You will be better off because…”).
Flossing isn’t hard, but it’s imperative to retaining your oral health. Your professional disciplines are also not hard, yet imperative to your professional growth and development, and that of the people in your company.
So go out there and floss daily…and be unleashed.
Follow me on Periscope at @danweedin. Its the new broadcasting platform from Twitter. Download it for free, and the find me. I will be doing regular broadcasts to help you boost your business and enrich your life. Click here to watch yesterday’s Periscope broadcast.
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved