Discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t want to do, in order to get a result that you really want to get.Andy Andrews
Even as I write this, I can feel the urge to postpone it until later. When I think about self-discipline, I must smile. My journey to self-discipline has been lifelong. I grew up in a family where there were no expectations of me. I didn’t have to do anything, not make my bed, not wash the dishes, not take out the trash. Not a particularly good environment for learning self-discipline. I developed no self-discipline muscle. My discipline and work ethic were strongly influenced by the role model set by my husband, who has an incredible work ethic and self-discipline. It has been a lifelong challenge to develop and maintain self-discipline. My definition of self-discipline is doing what is necessary when you don’t want to or when you don’t feel motivated. In fact, if you wait to feel motivated the action may never come!
When I became an entrepreneur and started my business, it was essential that I develop self-discipline, as I no longer had a boss. There was no one to monitor what I did. The only demands were the ever-present deadlines for sending proposals, creating programs, and presentations. Self-discipline is critical for every aspect of one’s life! Self-discipline is necessary to succeed in your career, to eat healthy, to exercise consistently, to keep organized, to be a responsible parent (human and pet) etc.
I worry about children raised today, especially those with helicopter parents. When a child has all their actions monitored, they never learn to create their own self-discipline. If mom and dad are responsible for you sitting down and doing your homework, what’s going to happen when you go off to college? Flunking out of school is a difficult result of no self-discipline, one that has ramifications far into the future.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of the “carrot” when it comes to developing self-discipline – because it’s darn hard! Here are some “carrots”:
- People who have strong self-discipline are people that reach their goals. It’s so much easier to stay focused on your goals when you are performing the actions necessary. There is no doubt that when you reach your goals it can make you a happier person. One goal reached, leads to multiple goals reached. Discipline is the antidote to procrastination. I’m not saying there will not be setbacks and failures but when you have stayed the course that gives you time to shift when necessary.
- People with self-discipline consistently have higher self-esteem. When you do what you say you’re going to do, you are likely to be proud of yourself. When you see yourself as a person who has good habits and character, the result is a stronger sense of self. When I do my Fast Five (five-minute review of the day), and my discipline has been in gear, I hear myself saying aloud “Way to go!” This pops up for my clients, too. They are eager to share that they have been on task and succeeded. They love hearing me exclaim, “Way to go” for them. It’s fantastic to celebrate these wins with them. When someone else knows how challenging your successes have been, it makes it even sweeter to celebrate together!
- You will find your energy level soaring as you develop more self-discipline. It is incredibly energy sapping to constantly be thinking about what needs to be done and not do it. Often you put more energy into the worry and concern about it than it would take to just get it done. When you do what is in your plan, it can free you for time for yourself and that’s a great payoff. If I am not doing what I know I need to, I hear the loop in my head all day long admonishing myself to do it – that’s exhausting.
- Finally, life looks better on the other side. Small sacrifices now lead to better outcomes in the future. I think about everyone I know who has ever authored a book. Sitting down at their keyboard chapter by chapter has ultimately created a book. That book is a fantastic ticket to credibility and Guru status in your industry. Plus, it can be a huge revenue generator. Having written four books, I assure you it has taken tremendous self-discipline for me and everyone else I know. This applies to all your career goals. For example, with clients who are looking for that next great position, it means redoing their resume. Discipline allows for the time to reformat, tweak, and polish their resume. It’s unsettling to see a job posting and know your resume is not the best it could be.
Wow, discipline has a ton of benefits, right? If there is such a huge payoff, why don’t you do it? Well, it’s just darn hard but if you want to start strengthening your self-discipline muscles, read Kay’s corner on how to get rolling on this important skill.
If you are painfully aware that self-discipline is a roadblock in your career success, don’t despair. It is possible to create this behavior no matter what stage of life you are in. If you would like assistance in creating the self-discipline you need, email Kay@highheeledsuccess.com or call (513) 561-4288 and we can set up a complementary 45-minute phone conversation to see if my coaching could be valuable for you.