Disciplined for Success

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It is very interesting to me that in most success formulas for entrepreneurs, one of the most important ingredients is often left out. That ingredient is discipline. Of course this is probably because discipline is not as fun to talk about as leadership, creativity, technology, marketing, innovative products, building relationships with customers, etc. Discipline is usually considered a dirty word by those who consider themselves “free spirits” or just don’t like structured environments. Nevertheless, without this component as a core part of their business DNA, many entrepreneurs will never reach the ultimate goals that they have set for themselves.

Success equals opportunity plus preparation and discipline is at the center of that preparation. Discipline allows for us to streamline our focus by cutting away the “fat” (unnecessary stuff) from our lives just like an athlete would who is preparing for his/her upcoming season. The fat represents all the trivial things that keep us from fulfilling our potential.

Most environments that we encounter in life are undisciplined and they allow undisciplined people to operate freely. There are very few environments, besides the military, that can “shape” someone into a disciplined person. Therefore, discipline must be a choice that starts in a person’s internal environment, i.e. character. When a person develops and practices discipline in their habits, time management, health/eating, work ethic, relationships, etc., the result is that person can go into any undisciplined environment and thrive. The disciplined person can keep from being negatively influenced by other undisciplined people.

Discipline does not happen overnight. It must be developed over time through practice and conscious decision making. The challenge is that the process of discipline can be hard and lonely. It’s hard because it forces us out of our comfort zone and makes us do things that we have not yet developed a taste for (or may never). It’s lonely because much of it is done behind the scenes and often other people, who aren't pursuing discipline in their lives, can’t relate to us.

Discipline takes focus, sacrifice, and commitment to your vision. When things become difficult, you must shift your focus to the purpose of the process and not the process itself, with the purpose being you positioning yourself to achieve your long-term goals. Only focusing on the process eventually will become discouraging. However, focusing on the end goal provides motivation to endure and appreciate the process. Short-term pain results in long-term gains.

Your success as an entrepreneur (and in life) is directly correlated to your willingness to be disciplined in the following areas:

  • Time management
  • Financial decision making
  • Utilizing your gifts and talents
  • Relationships (family and business)
  • Speech/conversations
  • Thoughts

Think about the areas in which you are undisciplined and develop a plan to get better. You may need to get a coach or an accountability partner. This ultimately will help you to not waste energy and maximize your resources. Don’t shortchange yourself or give yourself excuses for not being disciplined. Your success depends on you.

Practice makes perfect…


Tags: , entrepreneur, discipline, success, leadership, empowerment,

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Great vs. Good – Part 2

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In "Great vs. Good - Part 1" I wrote that part of the “environmental mix” for one to become great includes challenges, hardships, and difficulty. For the extreme majority of people, life is not going to be a bed of roses. As human beings, and especially as entrepreneurs, we all have to deal with our own set of problems and issues. The difference between those who succeed in life (and business) and those who fail depends on how we handle those problems. Furthermore, the more successful we are at handling our own challenges, the more successful we will be at modeling out for the next generation how to be successful in handling their challenges. Whether we realize it or not, they are watching us closely for how we respond to our environment. We need to make sure that our character more than anything else is worth replicating in their lives.

Regardless of the business or life situations that we may be in, each of us still has the opportunity to achieve greatness. We must look at the opportunities and challenges that we face and determine the types of choices that we will make. Each of these choices will either move us closer to or further away from greatness. There is a story that’s been circulating around for years that highlights this concept very well. It’s the “Carrot, Egg, or Coffee Bean?” story.

The short version of the story is that a daughter was complaining to her father about her difficult life. As a way of teaching his daughter a lesson about life, the father boiled these three objects in some hot water. He explained that the carrots, the eggs, and the coffee bean had faced the very same challenging circumstances — boiling water. However, each item had reacted differently. The carrot had gone into the water strong and firm, but had come out softened and weak. The egg had been fragile before it was put in the water, but had come out hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the water, they had changed the water, i.e. their environment. It was no longer just boiling water, but tasty coffee. The coffee bean’s best was produced from what would seem like the most challenging of situations.

The father’s question to his daughter is my same question to you, “Which will you be — a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Will you produce your best or worst when your business is going through its most challenging times? Will you resort to unethical business practices to get a contract or will you set an unwavering standard for ethical behavior? Will your quality suffer when you’re in a cash crunch or will it get even better?

Don’t be a victim of your circumstances, but instead use your circumstances to your advantage. Change your environment — don't let it change you for the worse. Let the aroma of your character make a positive difference in your various spheres of influence, especially our youth. That’s what great entrepreneurs do! Greatness is awaiting you today. Don’t make it wait too long!

Empowering You for Success,

Achieve greatness today by positively impacting someone else’s life!

Tags: , leadership, success, fulfillment, empowerment,

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Great vs. Good - Part 1

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The origin of leadership is often debated in terms of whether leaders are born or developed. The most neutral response is to say that it’s both – some leaders are born and some are developed. On the surface, I can agree with this assertion; however, saying that it’s both often doesn’t challenge us to think deeply enough in terms of what it really takes to become a leader.

I’m going to shift this discussion from leadership to greatness and take a non-neutral stance in terms of whether certain people are born great or whether greatness is developed. First, I want to give you my definition of greatness. I see greatness as a person maximizing their potential by fully engaging their talents, time, and resources in ways that fulfill the purpose for which they were created in order to positively impact society. I know this may seem a little “pie in the sky”, but there are people that are living like this every day.

In my opinion, we all possess the potential for greatness inside of us. It’s just in an undeveloped seed form. Just like a flower or a tree, in order for that greatness to come out of us, we must have the right environment to nurture and cultivate that seed. The right environment for greatness includes: love, opportunities, challenges, hardships, difficulty, encouragement, faith, perseverance, integrity, and treating others right, among other things. Even with all of these things in play, the “environmental mix” for one person to become great could be totally different than what it will take for another person to become great. There is no magic formula for greatness. Furthermore, greatness, like leadership, is more learned than taught.

In many ways, greatness is also a choice. “Good is the enemy of great” is the quote made famous in the book by Jim Collins, "Good to Great." He explains that the great performances which certain companies demonstrate over a long period of time is a direct result of certain strategic choices that they make in comparison to the poor decisions made by their key competitors. Likewise, for people to fully come into their greatness, they have to make strategic choices based on their environment and the opportunities presented to them. Each of us has no choice but to play the cards we are dealt. Our greatness depends on how we play those cards.

How does this relate to entrepreneurs? I’m glad you asked. The same question of “born versus developed” is also asked of entrepreneurs (read Fortune Small Business, “Nature vs. Nurture”). I believe entrepreneurs are born with a seed of greatness inside of them. It just needs to be nurtured in the right ways. Interestingly, the nature of entrepreneurship is an environment that often pushes us to maximize our talents, time, and resources in creative, resourceful ways that others are not. Fortunately, when we respond to this environment in the right ways, we will have success in business and in life. This also ensures that what we produce from our lives is something that’s worth reproducing.

Check back soon for Part 2. I will dive deeper into that last point.


Achieve greatness today by positively impacting someone else’s life!

Tags: , leadership, success, fulfillment

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One Down...

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Well, I have just completed my first week as a full-time entrepreneur. As I look back over the week, certain things jumped out at me immediately. It felt a little weird not having to be in a certain place just because someone else expects me to be. Also, I can already see that it’s going to be a challenge to make sure that I’m finding the right balance between working in my business (i.e., creating marketing materials, back office) versus working on my business (i.e., strategic planning, content development). That’s definitely easier said than done. Other observations include:

  • This is definitely not a 9 to 5, because my thoughts and time are constantly consumed by how to make the business better, how to get in front of more peoples’ eyes, brainstorming new ideas for customers, how to capitalize on my ideas, etc. I’ve always heard that about entrepreneurs, but I still didn’t fully appreciate it until I experienced it myself in this short amount of time.
  • My family time must continue to be a priority. Even though I spent more time at home this week, I have to make sure that they understand I’m still “working.” However, I also have to make sure that just because I’m at home, doesn’t mean I spent quality time with them.
  • I need to work on building more structure in my day, because I can’t let distractions (miscellaneous errands, unproductive internet time, etc.) eat up valuable time during the day. My time is literally money now.
  • I still need to get the proper amount of rest so that I can keep my brain functioning with fresh ideas. I am a hard charger and sometimes I overdo it. I need to exercise wisdom and recharge my body regularly, so that I can be productive for the long haul.

Overall, it was a very productive week. However, I know there is going to be a transition period as I shift from the mindset of an “intrapreneur” to that of an entrepreneur. From time to time, I will update you on how my personal experience is going. Hopefully what I share with you will provide some valuable insights and help to keep you moving forward successfully in your own entrepreneurial endeavors.

Until next time…


Tags: , entrepreneur, intrapreneur, time management, strategic planning,

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Fresh Start

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Today is a great day! I have my faith in God, a wonderful family, a sound mind, a healthy body, and wonderful friendships, among many other great blessings in my life.

Today is also a great day, because I have come to an important crossroads in my professional career and after a lot of prayer, advice, and soul-searching, I have decided to transition from a corporate job into an entrepreneurial venture. I have started a consulting and training solutions company, Wilson Innovation Alliance, LLC. While this decision was not easy, I can say for certain that the knowledge I have acquired, the experiences I have had, and the extensive relationships I have had the fortune to develop over the past several years have shaped and prepared me for the exciting opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

In deciding to jump into the deep entrepreneurial ocean, I have the opportunity to pursue fully one of my dreams of positively impacting peoples' lives by providing innovative and inspirational organizational performance improvement solutions. My focus in the next 3 to 5 years is to create developmental environments which empower people to learn and grow in ways that will allow them to maximize their potential.

As I am sure you have noticed, I have not written in this blog much in the past few months due to my extensive preparation for this transition into my new life path. However, as a part of this new path, I plan to use this blog even more strategically to motivate and equip you to be bold and courageous as you pursue your dreams. So you can expect more from Biznovations over the coming months in addition to writings that will be distributed through The Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking, where I am an Institute Fellow.

Lastly, I would like to encourage you not to settle for just "good", because God has given you the potential for greatness! I'll talk to you soon.

Paul Wilson
Brand New Entrepreneur

Tags: , entrepreneur, innovation, performance improvement,

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