The Best Leaders Practice Delayed Gratification

I believe that what separates the most successful people from the least successful people is that the most successful ones practice delayed gratification. 

They do not have to win today. They can focus on tomorrow. 

I once shared my daily routine on The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, and I don’t know if we’ve ever gotten more negative feedback from an episode than that.

I shared that as of 2023, I don’t have any meetings until noon. My wife and I drop our two daughters off at school every morning. When I wake up in the morning, I do the sauna, the cold plunge, and exercise. I journal and meditate. I do a lot of these “self-care practices” before I go into the office.

When I shared those details, a lot of the responses were along the lines of “must be nice.”

Someone complained that they couldn’t do what I do. 

Of course they can’t. It would be preposterous if they could. If you could just decide today to say that you’re not going to come in until noon — that you’re going to go from working 70-80 hours a week to maybe 30 hours a week, and you don’t have the right people or systems in your business because you haven’t dedicated years to putting those pieces in place — then what do you think is going to happen? Of course, you can’t just say, “Today, I decide I’m going to work half the amount of time I was working previously, and I’m going to go and sit in saunas and cold plunges and make eight figures passively.”

If you could, how disrespectful would that be? Imagine that you could make that decision, and then all those things would happen without putting any of the pieces in place — without any of the focus, the commitment, the dedication, the long hours, the seven-day work, all the things you have to do, the sweat equity you have to put in over years to establish those systems, those structures, to get the right people in place to build a great organization.

Imagine you could skip all that and just make a decision to work half the amount of hours and then everything’s going to be wonderful. How disrespectful that would be to those who do those things. 

The reason why I share that routine is my belief that many entrepreneurs start businesses because their goal is freedom. They want to be able to spend their time how they want to spend it, around the people they want to spend it with, doing the things that they want to do. 

That’s the reason you start a business. If you don’t want freedom or control over the environment within your life, then you’re generally not going to start a business to become an entrepreneur. 

Isn’t the goal to be able to create an environment for yourself where you can focus on your health, spend time with your family, and be actively engaged in your business?

If you’re thinking long-term you’re going to work 80 hours a week, 100 hours a week forever, is that a destination worth chasing? Absolutely not. 

We’re in our 11th year in business with Crisp. I had a business for about five years before, so let’s just say I’ve been an entrepreneur for 16 years. For about 15 of those years, I worked about 70 to 80 hours a week. We worked seven days a week, Saturday and Sunday, every single day, taking all this risk and all this stress for years and years trying to figure this stuff out. 

Isn’t the goal that you get to a place where you no longer have to work that way and you could achieve the same or even greater results? I believe that’s the whole point, and delayed gratification is worth it.

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