//NOTE: The following is excerpted from my latest book, Leadership Starts With You.
The hardest part of being self-disciplined is it’s so every day.
The key to self-discipline’s power is consistency. It’s doing what’s required over and over in a way that leads to depth, improvement, growth, and meaning. When you lead yourself well you make promises that have an effect on your everyday life. Doing the necessary work (discipline) on a daily basis requires consistency.
You can’t cram for self-discipline. When I was a student working on my undergrad degree in Communications I would often put off the big papers until the last minute. Two or three days before they were due, I would quarantine myself into the basement of the library with a small supply of snacks and copious amounts of caffeine, usually in the form of Mountain Dew. Then I would crank out the paper. Sometimes I would do well on the paper, sometimes not. While it’s possible to get a paper done this way, it’s not the best way.
While cramming may work for writing a term paper, it doesn’t work for most other things.
Cramming doesn’t work for a piano recital.
Cramming doesn’t work for running a marathon.
Cramming doesn’t work for losing weight.
Cramming doesn’t work for building relationships.
Cramming doesn’t work for effective leadership.
Self-discipline can’t be engaged over a short period of time with hope of yielding great results immediately. The key to solid self-discipline is doing the necessary work day in and day out.
In a word…consistency.
Consistent self-discipline is not the same thing as boring repetition. It’s not a robotic effort devoid of creativity and nuance. The payoff for your consistency will be growth.
Growth means change. Change means different.
Consistent self-discipline can lead to stagnation if you do the same thing over and over again but you never grow or learn or improve. Learning to lead yourself well means figuring out how to remain consistent in your self-discipline while improving and stretching in the actions associated with that self-discipline.
The ultimate benefit of consistency is that it creates habits. If you are consistent in your self-discipline, then your actions and thinking will become second nature in that area. You will begin to react naturally in ways that you’ve trained yourself. When you develop good habits it will have a profound effect on those who follow you.
Consistency in your character develops integrity.
Consistency in your attitude creates trust.
Consistency in your leadership builds influence.
I think we all want to be self-disciplined. The trick is figuring out how to be consistent with it.
What do you think?
Interested in discovering simple and practical ways to develop your character consistently? Download my latest book, Leadership Starts With You. This book will assist you in developing your own self-leadership skills. It’s available for both the Kindle and the Nook. Visit leadershipstartswithyou.com to take the next step in leading yourself well.