I’m always thinking about how I got where I am in the moment. Looking at the journey I’ve taken so far and trying to figure out what, exactly, brought me to this point.
And I especially love to compare where I used to be to where I am now, not only to remember how far I’ve come, but also to remember how much I’ve overcome.
I’ve learned A LOT over my decade+ being an online entrepreneur, and while there are so many lessons and insights I could share, probably the BIGGEST one and the one that will get you where you want to go the fastest, is this…
Success is a discipline.
A lot of creative people avoid discipline because they see it as stifling and uncreative. I used to feel the same way. I used to procrastinate and avoid doing the work, all the while telling myself that one day I’d get my shit together and my dream life would start to unfold.
The problem was that I wasn’t doing it. Because I bought into the BS belief that success is something you stumble across, rather than create.
Maybe you’ve heard people say—“some day I’ll be…” or “one day I’ll do…” (insert whatever dream the person has). And the problem with some day and one day, is that IT MAY NEVER COME.
Because success is NOT guaranteed. Your dream life is not guaranteed.
You may have been born fully deserving and worthy of the life you dream, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to come to fruition.
I avoided creating habits around success for a really long time, because I believed that habits and discipline took my freedom away from me. And my core value in life, above all else, is freedom.
I wanted to live free and be free and control everything and have it all on my terms and I didn’t want to answer to anyone. From a young age, I dreamed of freedom. I dreamed of having everything I’ve ever wanted, exactly as I wanted it.
That’s all I remember thinking about as a kid… freedom. To do what I wanted, when I wanted to do it.
But for a lot of my adult life, I didn’t feel free. I felt totally under lock-and-key; first with my day jobs, and then after I quit my job, succumbing to the addictions that were holding me back—sugar, watching TV, procrastination.
When I thought about it… how much sugar I was eating, how much TV I was watching, how often I procrastinated on the things that actually mattered to me… I realized that I wasn’t free.
All I ever wanted was freedom. That’s why I quit my day job to be a full-time entrepreneur, so I could answer to no one but myself and do whatever I wanted to do, all day, every day.
But I didn’t have that. I wasn’t free. I was being controlled by a substance (sugar), and I was being controlled by bad habits (watching too much TV and procrastination). So while I had avoided creating good habits and being disciplined for years because I thought it would take my freedom away, I found myself totally stuck and being controlled by outside factors.
And that is NOT freedom.
It’s only when I rose to the occasion—when I started to consistently show up and to put first things first and to make sure I did what actually mattered every day—that things started to change.
Suddenly, I felt freer. I felt like I was in control. I felt like I was writing with a purpose and living with intention. Something I’d been so afraid to do previously because I thought it would take my freedom away.
But over the years I’ve discovered that freedom comes from being disciplined. It comes from doing what matters and doing it first thing before you do anything else.
I’ve even started getting up earlier every day (for me, anyhow!), because I’m starting to see that getting up early actually creates MORE freedom for me.
You have no idea how AMAZING it feels to have completed my journaling and mindset work, finished writing my blog post, worked on my books, and spent at least 15 minutes exercising… all before Noon. (Some days before 11 a.m.)
For a while I wasn’t even starting my get-shit-done time ’till after 1 p.m. when I finally got my ass out of bed and got moving for the day. And at first I thought that was freedom. I was intentionally choosing to stay up really late, to sleep in, and to avoid doing any real work ’till the afternoon time.
Until recently when I discovered that I wasn’t actually free doing things that way. I was giving my life to sleeping half the day away and then bumbling around for 2-3 hours after I got up, not really doing much of anything, and then getting caught up in life stuff during the afternoon, and not ending up working on anything of any importance until well after 7 p.m.
That’s not exactly freedom, even if I was intentionally choosing it.
Because I wasn’t fully creating the success I wanted to see. I was sleeping during what turned out to be my most creative and productive time of day… the mornings.
I’m a night owl. Always have been. When I was kid, I used to do whatever I could to find ways to stay up as late as possible. I hated going to bed, even when I was tired. And being creative and getting stuff done at night was working OK for me… but it didn’t feel very free.
Because most nights I’d have to skip out on whatever was going on in my actual life—fun stuff like hanging out with my husband and our friends or making plans to actually leave the house and go do something—in order to do all the stuff I didn’t do during the day.
Because I procrastinated. Because I slept way too late. Because I was watching way too much TV.
Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been experimenting with getting up early (or at least, early for me!) and honestly it shifted something in me.
I’ve never been a morning person, because I prefer the nighttime. But what I didn’t realize is that I prefer the nighttime to do whatever the fuck I want to do—read, watch movies, go out and do something, just chill and relax. And I wasn’t getting to do that because I had to make up for my lack of daytime productivity by hustling my ass off at night. Sometimes until 2 or 3 a.m.
Not exactly freedom, is it?
But on the days when I get up early, I’m insanely productive and creative and inspired and motivated, and by 1 p.m. when I’d usually just be starting my work day, I’ve already got all the most important stuff I needed to do that day FINISHED.
Creating the success you want to see in your life comes down to discipline and habit.
If you don’t have the success you dream of currently, I’d look at your habits and the things you have discipline around. Oh—what’s that you say? You don’t have any discipline or productive habits?
Well, that’s why you don’t have the success you want.
I’m saying this to myself as much as I’m saying it to you. Discipline creates freedom. And success is a daily habit.
Success is a way of thinking, a way of being and a way of acting. Until I realized that, I was actually sabotaging my own success.
Now I’m creating the success I want to see, by becoming habitual and having discipline around the things that really matter.
I totally get it now, the whole success thing. So many people think success comes from being special or from knowing more than everyone else or from having better connections or rich parents or a bunch of money to invest or whatever. But it’s NONE of that.
The truth is, success is a habit. It’s a discipline.
Success requires consistency. It requires you to show up every single day and do what matters. Over and over again.
THAT’S what creates success. Nothing else.
Wrap your head around that and you will change your life in ways you can’t even begin to imagine right now.
Share With Us
What habits can you create in your life to ensure that success is inevitable for you? Share in the comments.
P.S. Today is the FINAL DAY to join us in the Six Figure Author Society!! We’re kicking things off tomorrow (March 1) with building your marketing foundation. If you want to create discipline and habits around doing what matters for your marketing and book sales, you’ll definitely want to check this out and join us: www.jenniferblanchard.net/sixfigureauthor