Each one of us wants to be successful. However how many of us do put in the time and effort on a consistent basis? I always tell this to my clients and during my Leadership Interventions.
Becoming successful is not Rocket Science but also, not a walk in the park. It is nothing but knowing where exactly you want to go and by when. Doing what you need to do on a consistent basis with absolute focus and with a bull-dog like attitude.
Unfortunately, most of the people who are there who do want to be successful do just wish, hope and pray to be successful since it is the easiest thing to do. Here is what I am about to share with you – the inner secret of becoming successful in any area of life.
First things first, you must know what exactly is will power and how it does influence each one of our success rates. In simple words, when I am asked this question my answer is that “Will power is a response from each one of us from within and this does come from the co-ordination of the mind and the body”.
There is enough research out there which does prove that our brain does play a critical role in developing our will power and the prefrontal cortex (that section of the brain right behind your forehead) is the part that helps us with things like decision-making and regulating our behavior. Self-control, or willpower, falls under this heading, and thus is taken care of in this part of the brain.
So, the next logical question which will be in every one’s mind is How and what needs to be done to work on improving one’s will power and discipline??? This is one of the most common questions I am asked when someone comes to me for Professional Coaching.
Jimmesh Mohapatra reached out to me couple of months back. Jimmesh Mohapatra was in his mid-40s and with more than 2 decades of work experience post his Ivy League Masters.
He was destined to bigger things in life but the rigmarole of office politics and unregulated stress did take a toll on his productivity which directly affected his will power and affected his discipline.
When Jimmesh spoke to me, he was pretty at the edge of his emotions by working for long hours and hardly giving his mind and body a well-deserved break. He knew what was missing but did not have a clue to get a finger on the pulse to set it right.
One of the key areas where so many executives do fall into a trap is not taking care of his/herself by not eating healthy and compromising on the sleep.
These two areas according to me are the reasons behind erosion of will power and eventually the discipline area which begin to get compromised.
When I identified Jimmesh Mohapatra’s pattern, I knew where the fault lines were. It has become that much easier for me now with more than Ten thousand hours of active Professional coaching under my belt. So, I began to work with him in the area which I am going to explain below.
Stress Is The Number One Will Power Killer
Yes, you did read it right. The number one on the list always and every time when it comes to working on your willpower is managing unregulated stress.
What Jimmesh Mohapatra was succumbing to is something which most of the executives/entrepreneurs do succumb to, which is not managing stress.
Now, stress to a certain extent is fine for all of us and on the contrary I do believe that a slight amount of stress is a must to keep each one of us on our toes. However, there is a thin line between good and bad which is where the maximum damage is caused on the will power of an individual.
Jimmesh Mohapatra over a due course was acting more instinctively and had begun to take decisions on short term outcomes. He had begun to develop blind spots in his vision, which was causing more harm than good in fueling his stress level. He was always in a fire fight mode and his precious energy was drained most of the time for these trivial activities.
One of the first things I did when I began to work with Jimmesh was to help him to go easy and not be too hard on himself. I taught him a very simple but powerful technique to work on when he was overwhelmed.
I just taught him to breathe more deeply. Yes, most of the time we are all guilty of not breathing properly. Just a few deep breaths and feeling all the stress leaving the body as you breathe out will do the trick.
This is the most effective way to work on your stress level. You can grab a few deep breaths in your cabin, car, and lift or at times even in the washroom (yes I did work with a few clients who did this).
The idea is to do this a couple of times during the day which will help you fuel your own brain and eventually help you focus better on the task before you.
This article by Cristopher Bergland focuses on how chronic stress affects the brain.
Work To A Plan
Yes, this may sound easy but how many of us do have a day which is chaotic and does not go as per plan? If you have raised your hand then do not worry you are an average person just like Jimmesh Mohapatra.
When I saw through the average day of Jimmesh, I was aghast to see that he never did have a plan for his average 12 – 15-hour work day.
Even though he did have meeting after meeting scheduled, he never did have any “me-time” inbetween or had carved out some me-time during the work day.
This is one of the critical mistakes most end up doing when they are driving large teams or organizations. They work like there is no tomorrow and over a period something must give away, which in this case will be your own consistency and focus.
Working towards a plan keeping your wellbeing and development is not selfish but a must in today’s world. This is exactly what I began to work on with Jimmesh Mohapatra to help him to stick to a plan and not deviate too much to what he had decided.
Once he knew what was in the scheme of things for the day it was easier for him to not attend or focus on other things which was happening around him and did not require his involvement.
This one change did him a world of good to help him work on strengthening his emotional muscle and eventually his will power and discipline.
Hydrate Yourself More
One of the most common reasons I do hear from people as to why they hardly drink any water during the day is that they did not feel thirsty and hence did not remember to drink water.
Now Jimmesh Mohapatra was somebody who was having only 3-4 glasses of water in his 12- 15 hours schedule. Yes, he was hardly having any water since he like each one of you who worked in an Aircon environment.
The temperature is maintained between 21-25 degrees to ensure employees are comfortable. However, what this does to the mind over a period of times is that it stops giving you enough signals that you are thirsty.
However, the brain which is a fuel guzzler always needs water to hydrate itself and ensuring you remember to have at the least 8-10 glass for a woman and 10-12 for men is a good place to begin.
Having enough water does also help in removing the toxins from your body which is also a key factor in working on developing your emotional strength.
Your Food Intake And Exercise Go Hand In Hand
Jimmesh Mohapatra had extremely indisciplined food habits when I began to work with him. His food habits were something like this.
0730 Hrs. breakfast at home (Usually some bread and tea)
1400 Hrs. A hurried lunch (Sandwich or some Roll)
1800 Hrs. Some tea and snacks
2200 Hrs. Dinner at home or outside with clients
Now looking at Jimmesh’s food intake, you must be wondering “Hey come on Satish! It is very similar to mine”. Yes, most do fall into this trap of not eating well and most importantly on time.
Jimmesh Mohapatra was mostly eating unhealthy food and there was far too much gap in between his food intake. Now this does begin to work on your thought process because as I do mention always Jimmesh was most of time Hangry (Hunger + anger) which compromised his will power to a large extent.
Sticking to a healthy meal plan with less processed food and sugar will drastically help you to work on your thought process much better.
Also, not having an exercise schedule is something which is most common amongst executives. “There is no time Satish for any kind of exercise” – this is how most of them console themselves. They manage some physical activities during the weekend only. Which to disappoint you is not enough.
Making some time for exercise is critical for your overall wellbeing both physically and emotionally. When it does come to your will power there is no other alternative other than sticking to a schedule of 20-30 minutes of exercise.
This helps you flush your brain with endorphins which is the hormone which does help each one of you to feel happy and content. This also helps in a big way in developing your own will power and bring in a sense of discipline to your life.
I have seen this drastic change with far too many people in the last 2 decades of working with people as a People’s manager and as their Professional Executive coach.
Meditation Is The New Nirvana
When I spoke about Meditation with Jimmesh Mohapatra, he was as surprised as you are right now. However, hear me out before you realize why Meditation is one of the most important To Do activities which will help you to increase drastically the reserve of will power which you already do have.
Practicing 5-10 minutes of mindful meditation is known to help you work on improving your focus, regulating your stress level and eventually creating your self-awareness.
All these were lacking with Jimmesh Mohapatra because of his work life habits developed over the years. Once Jimmesh Mohapatra began to practice meditation twice a day, which I always recommend to all my clients his overall will power began to drastically change. He became more conscious of his thoughts and became more disciplined.
Now I will be lying to you if I say that only by practicing meditation jimmesh could drastically improve on his will power and discipline. However, I can confidently tell each one of you that it did play a big role in helping him in this one area which did matter the most.
This article of mine gives more insights on how to make meditation a daily habit.
Work On Your Sleep Time
Jimmesh Mohapatra used to sleep for 5- 6 hours only through the week and at times sleep for a couple of more hours during the weekend. However, regulating your sleep pattern is the key when it comes to working to a great will power and discipline.
There is more than enough research out there which does prove that a good night sleep of 6.5 – 7.5 hours is the ideal time for any individual to get the whole benefits of a good night’s sleep and become better both physically and emotionally.
This is exactly what I did with Jimmesh Mohapatra. I ensured over the weeks of our coaching engagement that he shut down by 2300 Hrs. and woke up by 0600 Hrs. Jimmesh has been on this habit for more than couple of months now and the results are something which you should read below
1.He has stopped binge drinking and eating
2.He has completely stopped smoking which he was trying to quit from the last 5 years.
3.He is more relaxed and composed now than before.
4.He is consistently walking Ten thousand steps everyday
5.He has toned down and lost 4 Kgs now than before. He is mighty happy that he can fit into to his favorite suits now.
This brilliant video by Claudia Aguirre focusses on what happens if we do not sleep for the required no of hours every night.
Now if you are someone in Jimmesh Mohapatra’s shoes then it’s time to work on the same steps to help you work on your will power and discipline.
Believe me, I have worked with many Jimmesh Mohapatras over the last one decade as a professional Coach and there is no Rocket science to building on your own will power and discipline.
It is a step by step process and I will be happy to walk the journey with you if you are ready to take the jump.
Originally published at satishrao.in