Discipline - Don't Hate it!


DISCIPLINE. What comes to your mind when you read or hear that word? I watch a lot of people cringe or let out a big sigh when I talk about it at different speaking events. Why does DISCIPLINE have such a bad rap and why do people dislike it so much? I was curious so asked and interviewed people about it. I asked the exact question that I started this blog post with. I got answers like:

  • "[Discipline] That's only for high performers."
  • "It means I have to do things that I may not want to do." 
  • "Sticking to your goals."
  • "Listening to my parents." Yes I did ask kids too...
  • "Doing the right thing when no one is watching."

Here is the definintion direct from merriam-webster.com:

Definition of Discipline


2. Obsolete: INSTRUCTION

3.  : a field of study

4.  : training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties of moral character

5.  a: control gained by enforcing obedience or order

     b: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior


6.  : a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity

The fog lifted when I put the answers I got from the interviews together with the definitions. It's no wonder people see discipline in a negative light. We as humans generally don't like being told what to do. We certainly don't like it when our control over something is usurped by another. And dang, "punishment." Really? That's #1 on the list and who likes that?

So, what if there was a way to bring discipline into a positive light? One of my mentors, Jocko Willink (Twitter: @JockoWillink) says "Discipline equals freedom." When I first heard that I was like "Yes!" Someone who speaks the truth. Jocko is a former Navy Seal Commander. I am a former United States Secret Service Agent. There are not a lot of people who have done what we have in our lives. So I'm pretty sure you are thinking, "Oh well of course these two have discipline. Look at what they did for a living." 

I'm not going to deny that we lived under a different set of rules and conducted ourselves accordingly. I went to work everyday doing my damndest to embody, "Worthy of Trust and Confidence." But you don't need to be a Navy Seal or a Secret Service Agent to be disciplined. When you think about "Discipline equals freedom," what does it stir up for you? What if you had the freedom to do more of the things you want to do? Would you make some small tweaks? I don't think "small tweaks" sounds unreasonable, do you?

I'm now going to give you a glimpse of what discipline looks like. Now, I will preface this by saying that I track things. If I read something or hear something on a podcast that I want to build into my daily "recipe" I'll do it and then track it to see if it's making an impact for me. The impact I'm looking to measure is whether or not the thing moves me closer to my goals. So here goes...

1. I'm up early. Between 5:30 and 6 most days and I'm on the floor stretching. You may have seen some of my clock posts on FB: Courage To Win. Why do I do this? Because it sets the tone for a kick ass day! I am able to complete my most important work focused and undisturbed before my husband and little boy get up.

2. Reading, Meditation, and Journal. (30 mins total) Before I dive into my work I read a small spiritual declaration to myself out loud, followed by 10-20 mins of meditation. I go with my mind and how I feel. Sometimes I am so inspired by the things that come to me during my meditation that I stop and write them down. So I let this time free flow if you will. Then I journal.This is quick. I write down the 3 things I am grateful for, the 3 things that will make today great (these are my intentions and the work that I intend to accomplish, the people I need to reach out to and the people I am waiting on), and 3 affirmations. 

3. Get into action. I do the work I intended.

4. 7:30 is a break to feed and walk my dogs where I listen to a podcast.

5. Swing some kettlebells / do some burpees. I get my heart rate up and release those endorphins (see Tim Ferris 4 hr. body kettle bell workout).

The rest of the family is usually up by the time I'm swinging those kettlebells.

I get my little boy squared away and then,

6. I'm back on task.

I'm usually finished with the most important work by lunch time which gives me the freedom to meet up with a friend for lunch, make some calls, check email. Oh, and one thing about email. I never, ever, ever check my email first thing in the morning. Why? I don't want to live in someone elses agenda. If I'm in email it's because I'm looking for something specific, for one of the people I'm waiting on. I search specifically for that person. I respond if necessary and then I'm out of email until the afternoon. 

7. In the evening I revisit my journal. This is where I track. I write down the answers to the following:

a. What 3 things went really well today?

b. What 3 things could I have done to make the day better?

8. I'm lights out by 10pm, 10:30pm max.

The freedoms I earn from this recipie

  •  The freedom to make my own schedule and impact more people.
  •  The freedom from feeling like crap because I work out.
  •  The freedom to have a social life. My work is not my life.
  •  The freedom from feeling stressed or rushed.
  •  The freedom to learn new things
  •  The freedom to be with my family when I want.
  • To name a few...

So there's my DISCIPLINE recipe. I hope you can see that it's not difficult, or worth the bad rap. You can create your own recipe too. Steal mine if you want, use it, or make it your own. Comment below with any questions, what you liked, what you didn't, and what you do to everyday.

Let's kick ass together!

Category: Courage


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