The Essential Component of Discipline
A few days ago, someone said to me.
It just requires being more disciplined.
They were right, and it got me thinking about why discipline is so hard.
Before I begin, let me say this…I know a lot about discipline (four years in the US Marine Corps automatically gives you a PhD in the subject. Plus, I have four kids that somehow aren't perfect...go figure).
However, discipline is more than something we "know a lot about." Discipline is a choice we make.
Discipline by itself isn't a strength. Discipline exists so that you can follow a plan to reach a goal worthy of attaining. Discipline is the tool and not the finished product.
There is an established relationship between a goal, a plan & the discipline to follow it through.
Planning & Discipline are required for a goal to be accomplished, but a breakdown in discipline will cause a plan to fail 100% of the time.
Do you have a goal worthy of attaining? Great. Join the crowd.
Are you willing to commit yourself to the discipline of following a plan to reach it? If so, you're apart of a small and exclusive community of people.
As you start a down this path (or restart like me), there are some big challenges in being "more disciplined."
1. Defining if it really is a goal.
Answer this question: Do you "hope" to reach your goal, "want" to reach your goal or "must" you reach your goal? Those three little four letter words have significant implications.
2. Lack of goal clarity.
The goal of "increasing sales" is much different from "increase January sales by 3.4% versus a year ago." Make sure you're clear with yourself and with others on what you're working towards.
3. New ideas.
I'm not sure who said it (probably Charles Lee), but "new ideas are the enemy of execution." Don't get me wrong; new ideas are incredible. I love new ideas, and I confess that I'm a recovering "new idea" junkie. However, once a plan is in motion, new ideas that are introduced mid-stream will kill the ones you're already working on. That doesn't mean you can't have new ideas. You just have to be strategic and intentionally about how they introduced.
4. Ability vs. Capacity.
I have the ability to carry 1,000 bricks across the street, but I do not have the capacity to do it in one trip. Make sure you plan accordingly.
5. Time & space to execute.
If I haven't been disciplined over the past 6 months, I can't wake up tomorrow morning and plan to run a successful marathon. Why are we are keenly aware of our physical limitations, but often very unaware of our capability limitations? Again, I have the ability to run a marathon, but I'm not capable of doing it tomorrow.
6. Unnamed blind spots.
We've all seen this sign on the back of big trucks.
These are "named" blind spots and they help us to navigate around them correctly. Do you know where your blind spots are? Have you ever asked anyone to tell you? Letting others name a blind spot is a gift. Once identified, you'll be able to navigate through them safely.
7. Fear of Failure.
One thing is certain, doubts will arise as you work towards your goal. Remember, if it is a goal worthy of attaining, then failure will always be a possible ending point. Be careful of this fear of failure because it can direct us off the path and encourage us to change plans or allow new ideas to enter. Fear of failure is not failure.
Decision-making in a vacuum sucks :-) Goals are never accomplished alone, so don't pretend decisions can be made alone either. This is one thing we often learn the hard way.
9. Size of the Goal = Amount of Discipline Required. Enough said.
Remember, breakdown in discipline of following the plan = failure to meet goal.
Set your goals, make your plans, and discipline yourself to move forward.