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The Three Radical Self-Disciplines: Accountability + Honesty + Silence

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Radical Accountability

Radical Honesty

Radical Silence

Let’s explore these three powerful self-discipline ideas in depth and see where it leads us.

Radical Accountability

When you say you are going to do something, do it. Don’t hedge. Don’t waffle. The harder part is not letting yourself off the hook for your agreements. It’s harder than you think.

“Oh, I was really tired after work, I needed rest more than I needed a networking happy hour.” Easy to say. But, it’s a failure of accountability. You are the only one holding yourself personally accountable. If you’re cutting yourself slack all the time (let’s say eating ice cream after dinner for a week) it is hard to maintain any self-discipline. By accountability to yourself first, you establish that you do what you say you’re going to do.

Radical Honesty

This one hit me pretty hard about a year ago. I’m not 100% by any means. But here is the idea. Even small white lies undermine your own self-discipline. “Can you help me with a project this weekend?” Here are three different no responses.

  1. I can’t I have plans to take my nephew to see the new Dune movie.
  2. No, I’m not available this weekend.
  3. No.

The “I have plans” is an easy win, but a lie. Not available is closer, if it’s true. If you don’t have plans, but just don’t want to help this person, it is harder to tell them “no, I don’t want to.” That will probably create a bit of tension. Might further the discussion about your friendship. The third answer, “No,” is fine. There are no revelations in it, no extra information. That’s fine. And it is honest.

Maybe the harder answer is, “Hey, I love helping you. I would like it to go both ways occasionally. It seems our relationship is built around moments when you need my help. Can we chat about that for a minute?”

That’s radical honesty. It establishes the truth. It opens you up to be clear with your friend and why the relationship feels unbalanced. And, you can see how it might foster better self-discipline for you. Most of us want to help. We often over-help and leave little energy and time for ourselves.

Radical Silence

This is my current edge today. I output a lot of content. I expend energy talking, writing, posting, informing, and even loving others. I need to slow down on my output so I can manage my own energy. My own centeredness. Balance in my mind, is finding the energy and joy to rest when I’m tired, play when I’m motivated, and love who I want to love.

I have to start being more quiet. Meditation is a small example of this idea. Starting with 10 minutes, if I can sit and breathe. Be still. I have a chance for my mind to slow, catch up to myself, and listen to what’s going on in my thoughts and my physical body.

Today, I’m going to turn off the computer and internet for the rest of the day, after posting and socializing this article. That’s one of my forms of quiet. Just stop all outgoing communications. The world can spin without you for an hour, a day, a weekend. As you begin to let go of *productivity* for a bit, you’ll see the benefits right away.

Listening to my body and my mind is my current edge. Meaning, by working with silence I am building strength of will and mind. Coming out of a moment of silence I always have more clarity. It looks like this.

  • Here is what I want.
  • Here are the things I need to do to achieve my goal.
  • Here is the first step.

Pulling Yourself Together
(Goal-Focused Actions)

Self-discipline is the art of moving your life in the direction you want it to go. You have to know what your goals are. Then, as you begin getting better at retaining focus, you can bring your energy, enthusiasm, and effort to Goal-Focused Actions. GFAs.

Here’s one more example for clarity.

I am wrapping up the writing of a book on Creativity and AI. Most of the fun part, the writing, is done. The work that I need to keep focused on is publishing, publicity, and speaking engagements or podcasts. I might easily imagine, “Hey, the book is done. I’ve done my part.” I would be missing the rest of the work that *might* make the book successful.

Define your goals. Know your 3 Radical Self-Disciplines. And move each of your projects a few motions forward each day. It’s like chess. We all have a lot of moving pieces. If we can remain focused on the goal, the gameboard of life, we can start designing the WIN.

We are all works in progress. We all have the same 24 hours per day. If you can maintain some radical self-discipline the energy and momentum will allow you to accomplish much in your life. That’s the goal, from my perspective.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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You can find all of my books on AMAZON.Dating 2.0 

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