In some past articles, I’ve addressed the importance of self-leadership when it comes to effectively leading others. In this post, as I explore self-discipline with you, I think it’s important to reiterate it. President Harry S. Truman said, “In reading the lives of great men, I have found that the first victory they won was over themselves…. Self-discipline with all of them came first.”
Andrew Carnegie put it this way: “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I watch what they do.” These statements aren’t just true of great achievers. They are also true of highly-effective leaders. We communicate a lot to those we supervise, to our peers, and to those who manage us.
Words only go so far. It’s our actions, and our habits, that speak far more loudly than the words we choose to share.
Recently, I’ve been reading John Maxwell’s book, Developing the Leader Within You 2.0. In Chapter 12, which happens to be on the topic of self-discipline, John shares that the word means to get a grip on oneself. It describes people who are willing to take responsibility for their lives and to take control of those areas that bring them success or failure(1).
At the end of the day, as a leader, I need to get a grip on me first before I can ever try to get a handle on others. The challenge for many leaders is they believe other people are the problem, when in reality it may be their influence that’s keeping someone from reaching their potential.
Unfortunately, we can’t expect to take others farther than we have personally gone ourselves!
We will soon be entering a new year. It may be the ideal time to begin addressing some of the leadership challenges you have in your organization. With that said, it’s important to point out that everything worthwhile is uphill. There are no accidental achievements.
The results you will achieve as leaders, and as an organization, will only come through self-discipline, self-control, and being intentional in applying what you’ve learned.
The bad news is, lack of discipline is the lid on many people’s leadership potential. The good news is, self-discipline is something you can develop. But it all starts with changing your thinking. If you enter into any leadership development initiative with a negative mindset, you and your team will come up with all of the reasons why it will never work. On the contrary, if you enter it with a positive mindset and an open mind, you will search for all of the reasons why it can and why it ultimately will succeed.
So, in conclusion, I will leave you with seven essential things to consider about self-discipline(1).
- Self-discipline enables us to go uphill
- Self-discipline is the difference maker between short-term success and long-term success
- Self-discipline makes habit our servant, not our master
- Self-discipline is developed over time – it’s not given
- Self-discipline is most easily formed in our areas of strength and passion
- Self-discipline and respect are connected
- Self-discipline makes consistency possible, and consistency has a compounding effect
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
What improvements are you looking to make in your leadership in 2019? How can Leadership Addict help you? Is there specific content you’re looking for? Please comment below. I’m looking forward to reading your comments and suggestions.
Nathan R Mitchell is America’s Leading Empowerment Coach. In 2010, in an effort to fulfill his purpose of empowering leaders to reach their potential, he founded the leadership development company, Clutch Consulting. Nathan is also a Certified Speaker, Trainer, and Coach with The John Maxwell Team. Originally from Springfield Missouri, he earned his B.S. Degree in Management and an MBA from Missouri State University. He lives near Tulsa Oklahoma with his wife and children.
(1) MAXWELL, JOHN C. DEVELOPING THE LEADER WITHIN YOU 2.0. THOMAS NELSON PUB, 2018.