Self-Discipline comes before any leadership success


I had and still have my back and forth dance or rather fight with self-discipline from my early age. When I was a professional gymnast it happened a few times that I fell off the beam during performing somersault at competitions. Every time I failed, afterwards, I had to practise it 100 times. It was a strenuous and painful experience.

I also sang in a famous Hungarian Choir when I was young. We not only performed in competitions but had radio recordings and travelled around Europe. I remember we had summer choir camps when we spent hours and hours practising only one or two small and short pieces of a particular part-song in order to create the perfect sound and be able to recreate it again and again. It was an exhausting experience but the result was breath-taking.

And I have recently lost 40 kgs. To reach that I had to go through a strict fitness and diet regime for quite a long time. In fact, it resulted in changing my lifestyle and consequently improved my health and boosted my energy.

All these required not only enormous efforts (the magic extra miles) from me but SELF-DISCIPLINE.

"Everything worthwhile is uphill." John C. Maxwell

Anything and everything you desire in life, everything you would like to strive for, is uphill meaning the pursuit of it is challenging, gruelling, exhausting, strenuous, and difficult. Because there is no such a thing than accidental achievements.

Self-discipline makes the difference between temporary success and sustained success.

How to use self-discipline to create sustained success in leadership?

  1. Live each day with intentionality.
  2. Focus on what you are going to instead of what you are going through.
  3. Anyone can climb uphill for a short time. Nearly everyone, at least once. But can you sustain it? Quick fixes, quick wins are important to energize yourself and your team and to keep the momentum for a short time, but they are not enough for sustained successes.
“Do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.” Thomas Huxley
  1. Know the pain paradox of decision making:
“The short-term easy leads to the long-term difficult, while the short-term difficult leads to the long-term easy.” Rory Vaden
  1. Makes habit your servant. Habits have power over us, because the habits we have make us or break us. It is our choice. There are downhill habits and uphill habits. The challenge for a leader not only to change his/her own habits but help their teams to change from downhill habits to uphill habits. But how?  Start with changing your thinking. Because what you think determines who you are. And who you are determines what you do. Bad thinking results in bad habits. Good thinking results in good habits.
  2. Prepare is uphill habit while repair is downhill habit. This is an important part of living and working intentionally. If you fail to prepare you end up repairing all the time. The first one is proactiveness while the latter is reactiveness.
  3. Self-discipline is and can be developed and not given. The first step is awareness. You need to see where you fail to reach your goals. Intentionally avoid temptation to shortcuts, and instant solutions, gratifications. Be intentional where you invest your energy. Decide every day where do you need to be at your best and what do you want to develop. As the saying goes: pay now and play later.
  4. Self-discipline is most easily developed in areas of strengths and passion. Self-discipline always needs fuel. The strongest fuel comes from inspiration and motivation which are usually best connected to your strengths. When you are working on your why, you have why power. And if you have why power you will definitely have willpower to run those extra miles.
  5. Self-discipline builds self-respect and earns respect from others. You show strong commitment and create momentums.
  6. Self-discipline makes consistency possible, and consistency compounds. Consistency is not a sexy word, but establishes your reputation, your leadership brand, prerequisite to excellence, provides security to others, reinforce your vision and values, and finally it compounds.

Pick one area of your life where winning comes easily and identify one discipline you should practise to strengthen that area. Plan it, schedule it, do follow-through consistency.

  • What are your talents as a leader?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • How can you leverage these things for your leadership?
  • Where can you introduce more self-discipline in your life and how?


Source: Developing the Leaders within You 2.0 by John C. Maxwell

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