Discipline = Success. OK, that may be a little oversimplified, but when you distill down any pattern of behavior that consistently produces winning results, you always find your way to specific patterns of consistent behaviors; behaviors that require discipline. Had time to visit one of Rory Vaden’s sessions on personal discipline recently and was impacted by his simple but powerful message – “Enjoyment isn’t a requirement of doing it”. Taken from his equally simple but powerful book “Take the Stairs”, Vaden admonished his audience to consider how personal choices create results; some intended, most un-intended. And that success is on the other side of intentional choices.

Albert Gray, in his thought-provoking essay “The Common Denominator of Success”, was perplexed by the thought that ‘hard work’, while encouraged and admired as a fundamental key to success, didn’t necessarily produce success. In fact, many successful people appeared not to work hard at all. In his quest to find what it was that was most common to all successful people here’s what he discovered:

“The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do.”

Gray, like Vaden, and countless others, hit on the simple but profound truth that if you really want to succeed, you’ve got to do the stuff that most others don’t like to do – on a daily basis. Long-term success is not an accident – it’s a result of choosing the daily personal discipline to do the things we all know need to be done – cold-calling, confronting bad behavior and poor performance, exercising, eating a healthy diet, reading, studying, getting out of bed early, resting and guarding our time – in order to get the results that most will never get. That equates to success.

Those who have not adopted a mindset of self-discipline Vaden noted, often ask “Should I?”, while success-driven people ask “How will I?” That’s a powerful question; one that I’ll be asking my clients in the coming days. Asking “How will I?” forces a person to think about his or her goals and the behaviors necessary to reaching them. Choosing to actively pursue those behaviors takes self-discipline – every day.

Vaden tied his message to what he calls the Rent Axiom: “Success is never owned, it’s only rented – and the rent is due every day”. What can you change about your behavior – your everyday activities – that will be most likely produce the results you want in your life and your business – today? Today is a day of choices – for you and for me. I work with leaders everyday who struggle with this issue, as I myself often do. As one author has noted, 90% of what most leaders do can be accomplished by a twelve-year old. The other 10% is what we get paid for. Yet it’s that other 10% that most leaders manage to skillfully avoid or put off – because we don’t like to do it. Making a difference requires personal change which requires discipline.

Only a disciplined leader can intentionally produce a winning company culture – one that produces winning results. Start by simply defining your goals today. What would your company look like if it was getting the results you wanted? Then ask yourself what behaviors you will need to change in order to make it happen. I’ve seen leaders adopt a winning mindset almost instantly when we work through this process. And not surprisingly, they begin to get positive results almost as instantly. Finally, as you work to achieve personal discipline, remember “Enjoyment isn’t a requirement of doing it”.