Discipline may not be the most exciting and motivating concept, however, it may be just the thing we all need and can count on to get us from the present to the future, one step at a time. I am not alone in being motivated by seeing my own progress and impact.
Do you not get a ping of excitement when you present an idea or plan you have been working on for weeks or months? Do you not get a rush of endorphins when someone tells you that your work has positively impacted them and their organization? Do you not do a little dance when you reach and maybe exceed a challenging goal? I will venture to say you answered, “yes!”
We live in an instant gratification society which is awesome when you want to binge-watch your favorite show, but not so great when time, energy, trial and error, and diligence are what produce the results you want to see. Daily actions required for progress can sometimes feel stagnant, like you are running in place. Gaining traction toward each goal requires clear, intentional, and repetitive actions whether you see the progress or “win” or you don’t. It’s making the 20 calls that result in 19 no’s and 1 yes. It’s applying for an opportunity and continuing the research, conversations, and applications until you land the role. It’s lifting 5 pound dumbbells, then 8, 10, 12, until you reach your 25 pound goal. We call this discipline. Every step may not feel or look like a win, but ultimately you can count on the work you are putting in to get yourself across the finish line.
Athletes and military personnel are intimately familiar with this and many, including myself, are so connected to their discipline that it is integral to how they approach most things in life. You know that you will put in countless hours, reps, and workouts that will not have immediate results, but over time, that discipline pays off. You gain a little more muscle. You shave off a ¼ of a second of time. You leap a little higher. Run a little further. Last a little longer. The measurement is in the micro-actions and behaviors that require an unwavering commitment to discipline and knowing every day isn’t going to be or feel like a win. The gratification comes from knowing and doing the work that will get you there.
A mentor recently reminded me of the power within my innate discipline. It allows me to dig deep when I feel there isn’t anything left in the tank. It allows me to push through the down days and the "no’s" and the uncertainty of when the progress and “win” will be seen and accomplished. When the outcome and impact become tangible. Demonstrated success tells me to trust in the consistency discipline promises. It provides grounding in the sometimes seemingly mundane and fruitless routines that guarantee a positive return and results needed for a “win.”