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Leading An Accounting Firm by Troy Waugh

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6Self-Discipline: Be the Master, Not the Victim

“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”

~ H. JACKSON BROWN, JR.

Before you can lead others, you must have the self-discipline to lead yourself. However you define success in your firm, you must set the example. Your team must see you demonstrate your total commitment and effort toward your definition of success. When you model this approach, most of your team members will follow your example. You’ll be able to identify those who are not committed, and you can determine whether you can develop this commitment in them.

There are a number of ways to define self-discipline. We all know what it is in a general way, but some ways of looking at it may provide more ideas on how to benefit from it. Standard definitions emphasize controlling yourself and your desires. When you control yourself, you have the ability to master your future rather than be the victim of circumstances, feelings, and emotions. I prefer the following definition: the ability to take action, regardless of your feelings.

Some would advise you to control your desires or emotions. I don’t believe that you can control your emotions; you can only deal with them. In his landmark book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey defines proactive as the ability to choose your response after you’ve had an emotional stimulus. His very ...

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