4DX: Applying the First Discipline

In yesterday’s post about The Four Disciplines of Execution, I quickly went through the disciplines and how I am applying them. Today, I want to talk more about the first one, which is to choose one “Wildly Important” goal (WIG), and my thought process as I chose mine.

The first thing to notice is that the book asks you to choose only one WIG. I may be going off script by choosing three, but I am choosing them in very different areas of my life. I have only one work-related WIG, one health WIG, and one personal growth WIG. The book is mostly about work, but I have time carved out for health and personal growth that is separate from work. I have separation between them, so I my focus on one does not affect my focus on another (at the appropriate time).

To find a WIG. The book asks you to define (1) Where you are now (2) Where you want to be, and (3) by when. It’s the same idea as SMART goals.

For work, I am working on a startup with a partner, where I am doing the technical part.

  1. Where am I now? We have an MVP, and we use it every day along with a few trusted users. We have a series of gates we want to get through to launch. Right now, it’s usable, but we’re still missing some core features.
  2. Where do I want to be? Ideally launched, with users, and with some revenue. But, that depends on a lot of factors outside of my control, so it would be hard to put a deadline on it. To make it possible for me to accomplish the goal, it needs to be expressed as something I can do without dependencies.
  3. By When? It’s not ideal for a WIG, which should be longer term, but I think this project will go through phases with different goals right now as we progress through gates. So I am doing this quarter by quarter.

So, my WIG for this is to have no launch blockers in the product by March 31, 2024. There are several features missing that make it impossible to launch today (e.g. signup, forgot password, billing). There aren’t too many of them, and it’s very doable by March. To support our experimentation and product design, there are still other things we should do, but they are not blockers. We may not launch for other reasons, but not because of basic functionality.

My health/fitness WIG is simpler because it inherently doesn’t have dependencies.

  1. Where am I now? I am happy with my level of fitness and health. I have been vegan for a few years and I can generally stay in the weight range I want to be. However, since I was obese for many years, I still have more body fat than I would like. I use a body fat scale that says it’s about 23%, which is accurate enough for my purposes.
  2. Where do I want to be? I have been stuck at this level for a while. Realistically, I could shoot for less than 20%.
  3. By when? The end of 2024.

Fitness WIG: Go from 23% body fat to under 20% body fat by December 31, 2024.

My personal growth goal is related to writing, which is the main thing I have been working on for the past 3 years.

  1. Where am I now? I write regularly in this blog, and I have a writing-themed podcast that is intentionally off-an-on. In 2013, I got a book published by Manning and I have been paid to write articles for Smashing and other places.
  2. Where do I want to be? I want to have more longer-form published work that I sell.
  3. By when? One by June 30 and another by December 31.

Personal Growth WIG: Write two 50-page books by the end of 2024 and put them up for sale.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you how I applied the 2nd discipline.