Discipline is about our ability to balance, push, and govern ourselves. Think of how simple and rewarding the concept is, yet so few practice it. As our lives progress we become busier and the responsibilities become bigger. The volume and seriousness of the things we have to do can easily consume us in a way that starts to erode our feeling of freedom. And when we do not feel free, we are stressed, progress halts, and it is hard to find a way out.
When we see the most successful people, most comment on how smart they are, etc. In reality, most of those smart people are extremely disciplined, but not any smarter than those that wonder how they got there when they themselves feel stuck. People have to be smart enough to understand what discipline will do for them, but no smarter than that in order to experience the benefits. Fundamentally, discipline is about recognizing the need to change in order to gain/maintain balance, and then executing on those changes and being consistent until another change is required.
We don’t feel free when we…….
- are failing to meet career goals
- are not spending enough time with family
- are not taking care of our bodies
- are not fulfilled spiritually
- are financially strained
And the biggest excuse……wait for it……..wait for it……is………TIME. Say you don’t have time, and I will show you a single mom, that is going to college at night, holding a significant position in a growing company, taking care of her health, and finding the right person to have a healthy relationship with. And guess what, she is doing all of these things concurrently and successfully. So who doesn’t have time?
Having time is about being disciplined. To be disciplined is to…….
- understand and execute on career goals, while others lack the focus and conviction to just do it. Work hard and you will be in the top 5% of whatever you do.
- sacrifice some of your own personal time (wake up earlier, or stay up later) so that you can fulfill the obligations you have to your family. Make sure you are spending time with them when they are available and that you are taking more of your own time to get other important things done, when they are not available.
- exercise, and if you can swing it – do it early in the morning. It changes your day, and it is one way that those with the busiest schedules can make sure it is checked off the list before something else that day squashes it as a priority.
- make sure what you believe in spiritually is a constant in your life, and if you don’t know what you believe, continue seeking it.
- not spend more than you make.
Disciplined individuals make the best leaders because they have all the above in check. This means that they have the time, brain power, and skills to help others. Life is not as stressful and they feel free. They have a clear vision of what matters, and can help others understand the changes they can make. They understand that it is all about getting rid of what doesn’t matter (mostly selfish time consuming tendencies), and replacing it with what does.
A disciplined person leads by example just by the way they lead their life.