There are so many skills in this life to master but of the most valuable and often overlooked skills is “Self Control”.
For me mastering self control, means mastering self discipline, dedication, patience, big picture thinking and most importantly commitment.
In coaching we all need this powerful skill to truly serve our clients. But how many people do you know that have completely mastered it?
Here’s my seven steps to Mastering Self Control.
1. Develop your Self Awareness muscle.
The more you know yourself the better you can set yourself up for success. Learn the things that you do without "thinking" and they will give you an amazing insight into the beliefs that are hiding underneath the everyday routines.
A quick example could be - Do you wake up grumpy or happy? If you’re one of those people who wake up grumpy then have a think about where that came from…did you see your parent wake up this way as a child? Maybe you heard the words “I don’t do mornings” coming from one of your favourite people. Perhaps it was a cartoon that left an impression? Having awareness of your beliefs means you can change them to better ones.
Another aspect of self awareness worth considering is the impact it has on the environment and people around you. How wonderful would it be to know that you can create the exact environment you want by being the change you wish to see in it.
2. Keep the promises you make to yourself. Trust.
Many of us value our word so deeply that we hold ourselves strictly accountable to the promises we make to others. How is it then that when it comes to keeping the promises we make to ourselves we let ourselves off the hook so easily?
When you break a promise to yourself it is like you're saying “I’m not that important” when in fact you are. You’ll boost so many positive qualities by keeping your promises like: self-confidence, self-esteem, self trust. It’s important that you know that you’re a reliable friend to yourself and you can count on you.
3. Have behavioural flexibility.
With flexibility comes choice. The person who has the most choice has the most influence in any system. If you want to exercise a profound level of self control mastery then harnessing the power of behavioural flexibility is a must.
The person with behavioural flexibility is not fazed by circumstance because they know they can try something else and if that doesn’t work…you guessed it, they can try something else. What this creates is the ability to be responsive to a situation rather than reactive.
This is one of the first things we learn in our coaching journey and often is the key to the most profound change we experience in our lives.
4. Model Excellence.
This is included in our top 10 values here at The Coaching Institute for a reason. Regardless of how amazing your life might be right now we were not designed to settle, it is in our very nature to strive for the "more" we know we have inside our self.
We have so many people who have walked before us and achieved great results and rather than reinvent the wheel we "stand on their shoulders" (as Isaac Newton put it) “on the shoulder of giants” and from there we model the behaviours, the beliefs and the disciplines and we do this quietly until we achieve their results. It is then that we can take it to the next level and become the model of excellence for others too.
5. Outcome and Solution focused.
Let’s start with the contrast…you know, that person who speaks only in problem. It’s the crappy weather, it’s the cost of living, it’s the limitations of the world…it’s sooooooooo boring isn’t it? If that’s you then I gotta say. Stop it. Really, it’s a do not pass go do not collect $200 strategy.
How does this person master self control? They don’t…there’s no behavioural flexibility; it’s definitely not modelling excellence and a minuscule level of self-awareness.
We use a model called E.S.I.P at TCI and it’s the perfect tool for not only developing the business but for developing each individual person's level and awareness of their thinking. Right at the top of the model sit’s “E” it’s for Environment. This is where we see the outcome we want to achieve, the purpose of the outcome, the thinking, the mindset, the standards and the attitude we need to bring to achieve the outcome.
Imagine an internal environment where you have the ability to focus in such a powerful frame of possibilities. Imagine the choices this opens up for you. It’s huge.
6. Delay Gratification.
It’s very easy to give in to the desires that make you feel good. This could be anything and has been many a different thing to different people. Here’s where a true measure of self control comes in. Can you stand before the desires that give you short term gratification and resist them for those things that give you long term rewards?
Brian Tracy puts it brilliantly “The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.”
If we go back to #4 modelling success we will find that the people who have mastered self control have most certainly mastered this. This is not to say that you will never experience immediate short term gratification for the rest of your life but for where it counts, where you want the results, there is no short cut, it’s consistent everyday practice to the road to self mastery.
7. Consistent Action.
It’s a theme throughout everything you’ll read whether it be in this blog, any other blogs out there on the Internet, the millions of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter quotes in your feed. One thing is for certain to succeed in anything you need to take consistent action.
I recently read someone cool say that to master any topic, read for 30 minutes on it everyday, and in 7 years you’ll be there. Bruce Lee also said he didn’t fear the man who knew 10,000 kicks but the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.
We all know that when we practice something over and over again consistently we get really really good at it.
Now I invite you to imagine for a moment that in any given situation you have complete trust in yourself - keep the promise to you, to stand on the shoulders of giants – modelling excellence, allowing the urge of desire to pass like a rolling wave – delaying gratification, seeing a vast horizon of choice before you – outcome and solution focused and knowing that whatever choice you make – if it doesn’t work – you can choose another – behavioural flexibility until you land on what does work and then you commit to the mastery of it through – consistent action.
Let me know how far you are into your Self Control journey.
Have you mastered two, three or maybe even seven of these tips?