Richard Branson is a phenomenal success story.  He is one of the most recognised people on the planet and his brand, Virgin, is a household name in many industries.  But the early days were a roller coaster journey.

Richard’s autobiography, Losing my Virginity, is one of the first business books I ever read.  It remains one of my favourites and I often re-read some or all of it.  I am a huge Branson fan and am inspired by what he has achieved. But..

I wonder if he’d been more disciplined in the early years of running Virgin could it have been less traumatic?  If he’d been 100% committed to Virgin Records rather than also running Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Media and various other Virgin companies, could he have avoided the string of close calls with his bankers and business partners?  Perhaps he could’ve even avoided the forced sale of Virgin Records in 1992?

I tend to think that discipline is one of the most important qualities of business leaders.  Without discipline, we can become very distracted and lose focus of why we are in business in the first place.

Branson is a success, with or without discipline in the early years.  He seemed to love the drama and he’s still alive and kicking.  But I’ve learnt a lesson about focus from re-reading Losing My Virginity.

Some people love the drama.  I reckon a disciplined approach will result in steadier, more sustainable success and a bit more balance in my life…