You know how it is when you learn you can’t count on someone. It could be the friend that’s always late, the coworker who doesn’t pull their weight, or the ex who never followed through on their promises.
Forgiveness may come easily the first time someone lets you down. You might give them the benefit of the doubt. Nobody’s perfect, after all. But when it becomes a pattern, you say to yourself, “This person is showing me who they really are.”
You stop counting on them. You stop trusting them. Eventually, you stop investing time and energy in them.
So, if this is what happens when other people let you down, what do you think happens when you fail to keep your commitments to yourself?
In business, we tend to think of discipline as strict adherence to a schedule or set of tasks. We think discipline helps us get ahead because it means we’re getting the work done. While productivity is a significant benefit of discipline, it is not the greatest benefit.
The most powerful result of consistent self-discipline is the way it shapes your relationship with yourself.
When you make a commitment to work out every morning and you follow through, you learn that you can trust yourself to keep your own promises.
When you decide to sacrifice some of your precious free time to learn a new skill and you actually make it happen, you tell yourself that you believe in your own ability to grow and advance.
When you repeatedly choose to take a walk instead of turning to caffeine for an afternoon pick-me-up, you confirm that you value your own wellness.
Self-discipline is how you tell yourself day after day that you believe you are worth your own time, energy, and sacrifices. You believe that an investment in yourself will pay off in the long run.
And that is exactly the perspective you need to have if you hope to succeed in business.
I’m sharing this perspective on discipline for two reasons.
First, I want you to be more conscious of the consequences when you fail to keep your promises to yourself. It’s not just that you get less done or make slower progress. You actually chip away at your own sense of self-worth, and that affects every effort from here on out.
Second, I believe that reframing discipline as self-commitment can help you find new motivation. When your alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m., what thought is more likely to get you out of bed?
“I gotta be disciplined to be successful.”
Or “I have to keep the promise I made to myself.”
For me personally, the second statement is always more motivating than the first.
If you struggle with discipline, I suggest you stop framing your responsibilities as things you have to do in order to make more money. Instead, think of those tasks as investments in yourself… as promises to be kept.
Not only will you see faster growth as a person and as an entrepreneur, but you’ll tell yourself over and over again the message you most need to hear:
You, your future, and your dreams are worth it.
More Resources on Developing Discipline:
Free Video Course: Preparing to Get Out of the Truck