OK, I know you are motivated, you’re running your own firm after all. But, stop for a moment, although you’re trying to grow your firm, you are not getting everything done? Are you suffering with a willpower problem? Maybe you could call it motivation, drive, or any number of other things, but you need to get more done?

cc https://www.flickr.com/photos/gammaman/18603777289

The problem with a lack of willpower is that it stops you from doing what you said you wanted to. Maybe you

  • blame your team?
  • find your clients are demanding too much?
  • needed to get better at writing copy, phoning people up, tweeting, networking, etc.

Shall I go on? The real answer a lot of the time, is will-power.

Willpower is rubbish

Willpower gets blamed for a whole range of things, perhaps unfairly. I was recently reading a great article from a good friend of mine Tracy J Reck, which formed the basis for this piece; thank you Tracy.

The main reason for your willpower not being up to the job (whether it’s getting those extra calls done, going the extra mile with client service, getting the blogs you wanted written) is normally because we put the all our efforts to improve our business onto our willpower.

What is willpower?

Let’s be honest and give you the bad news, willpower is self-control, full stop.

The good news is that self-control is a skill you develop when you work on it. But it isn’t a skill that can achieve your business goals for you (or your personal goals).

If you were moving house to the South of France, you wouldn’t rely solely on your ability to speak French to help you successfully make that transition. You’d use your social skills, your ability to organise travel, interior design to make your new house homely, business skills to find work and, and, and…

Why ask so much of self-control?

Growing your firm is a big undertaking. There are probably several reasons, the reasons you do what you do, what you like in your role, the things you do in any given week etc., are multi-faceted and massively varied.

How often have you got carried away writing blogs, or doing work for a client, networking or helping team members? Let alone when you go onto Google for one thing and read several other pages first.

So there’s lots going on and self-control isn’t the right skill to use when you’re trying to change a habit. You need to focus on changing habits, not self-control. Just like you wouldn’t bang in a nail with a spanner (it might work, but not well and it would be hard going).

Improving your self-control

So the first thing is to make sure it’s willpower you need. Is it about your motivation or habits instead?

If you’re sure it’s self-control, work on improving it, like any other skill.

  • Keep using it.
  • Push it: When you push it to its limits, those limits will extend.
  • Flex the muscle: Whenever you do something you find difficult to make yourself do – or don’t do something you don’t want yourself to do – you’re flexing your self-control. And that, in turn, strengthens the part of the brain that’s responsible for that function.

That’s where the root cause is, self-control and willpower are brain functions; they are real! Keep them in your tool belt for times when it is the perfect thing for the job.

What are you doing to focus on your willpower and self-control?

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

Photo used under creative commons licence. For more information, click here.