Personal Musings - Are You Out of Control?

Personal Musings - Are You Out of Control?

Do you want to be successful in business? Do you really? If I could tell you one characteristic that will almost guarantee your success would you listen? More than that, would you follow through with it in your own life?

OK, here it goes….over the years I’ve found that “self-control” is the one character trait that underpins all of the businesses that I’ve founded. Self-control is largely frowned on as a concept that is outdated with the “If it feels good then just do it” mentality that now permeates society. Here’s the thing….I’ve found that it works.

So what is self-control? Obviously, self-control is being in control of yourself and at its heart is another word many people don’t like to hear, discipline. Self-control means that you have learned how you best work and take advantage of that.

For example, I’m typically at my desk at around 7:30am and finish work at 6pm. Due to time zones, I try and limit my late night calls. I’ve learned that I need to rest on the weekend so unless it’s an emergency I don’t do any work at all then.

I’ve seen many people behave in manic ways. They work 48 hours straight and then take the next 5 days off. Or they get so excited because they are working 7 days a week and after 2 months they fall to pieces.

What I’ve discovered is that clients don’t like this type of behaviour. They want to know that you are stable and that the business between you and them is being looked after. What’s the point in providing excellent service for 20% of the time and then abandoning your clients for the 80% because you’re burned out?

I’ve been asked a number of times about what is the difference between my business and another. When I was first asked this question I pondered it for a few seconds and answered by saying, “We like to see ourselves as the domain investor’s banker. We are measured, considerate and take managing your domain assets very seriously. Some other business may have all the glitz and the glamour but you may wake up one day to discover your assets have been trashed.”

What I was really describing was the heart of self-control.

I was speaking to one of my kids the other day and I said to them, “You don’t go from school to the CEO’s job in one step…..there are many, many steps along the path.” I don’t know what it is about the current instant (give me faster, better for no cost) generation but I’m not sure if my kids heard what I was saying.

For example, how did I build One article at a time. Writing articles when you don’t want to is really difficult but I know that if I keep on writing quality content then people will want to read it and Google will want to index it. It’s the slow and steady that wins the race. Overnight successes are rare……most of the time things that last are just hard work!

Self-control also reflects in what you say and to whom do you say it. I was speaking to a person recently who works in the IT (information trading) industry. What’s IT you may ask? They are the people that try and gain your confidence by sharing with you things that they should never share about their employer, other companies or individuals.

When you tell these sort of people anything about your own business assume that they will share it with everyone (in confidence of course). To be blunt they have not learned to keep their mouths shut – they are not self-controlled. My advice, be very careful about what you say around information traders!

Being self-controlled also means that you don’t get angry quickly. One of my daughters recently said something to me that was completely disrespectful. It would have been really easy to blow up, yell and scream etc. Instead I went for a bike ride with my wife and we discussed the issue.

After getting back I calmly explained that we had cut off her Internet access for as long as she continued to be disrespectful. Within two hours I had an apology. She asked if she could now get back online…..I said no but I would allow her access the following day. There needed to be some consequences to her action and a time where the apology was worked out.

There was no yelling or shouting and my daughter realised that her father had a right to be treated with respect. Likewise, I need to treat her in a similar manner.

I wished that I got it right all the time…..let me be the first to say that I don’t. What I have realised is that being self-controlled is one of the most important and difficult things that a person can tackle about themselves……it also leads to a great amount of success in life. So, are you self-controlled or out of control?


Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.

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Recent Comments
I have been facing my self-control issues lately. I tend to stay up all night working. Then the next day is almost a waste. It's e... Read More
11 March 2015
Chris, Completely agree with you. I had a friend who told me that when you get a good nights sleep that you're more potent the nex... Read More
11 March 2015
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