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The Self-Disciplined Leader



“You cannot always control the wind, but you can control your sails.”
— Dr. Bob Chope

Self-discipline and self-control are synonymous; unhealthy habits like unhealthy relationships always lead to negative consequences. Being intentional by wisely choosing what is genuinely prudent and not necessarily emotionally gratifying takes some thought, time, and effort. Experience will teach us it’s worth the effort.


Self-Discipline Sets You Apart


“You can’t make a difference unless you are different.”
— Chris Hodges

The more self-disciplined we are, the more freedom we have. Unfortunately, self-gratification usually exerts a stronger pull on our emotions.


Question: Have you ever wondered how well-respected executives can shock the business world with scandalous behavior?


Answer: They have compartmentalized self-discipline. The discipline they’re known for is confined to their objectives, business ethics, and job descriptions. Yet, they haven’t learned to master themselves within.


Personality and Character


We live in a society guided mainly by emotions and self-serving desires. Our culture makes decisions and judgments about leaders based chiefly on personality preferences. Unfortunately, this is a very shallow and unstable way to live. When we form opinions and make decisions based on how we feel, we will live a life given to change. We will also be offended by anyone who disagrees with how we see things.

Personality forms our first impression; it’s an easy read because it lies on the surface. We tend to gravitate toward people who display a degree of confidence, their friendly, and may have a sense of humor. If they’re good listeners and easy to talk to, we may get the impression we can trust them. We mistakenly view these personality traits as character traits that reside within.

This is why the general public can quickly turn against and hate public figures with the same passion they used to love them; no need to know the facts; how they feel when the bad news reaches them justifies everything else.


Character development often wars against instant gratification, many do not like the discomfort that accompanies personal development. It is much easier to consistently execute our daily disciplines than develop high ethical standards with solid moral character.


It’s also easy to view you daily disciplines as painful and uncomfortable. Jim Rohn observed, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons. Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure.”


Becoming a Self-Disciplined Leader


It’s empowering to realize that self-discipline is entirely under our control. Self-discipline is all about internal integrity, as is personal development. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can always maintain our internal integrity through our response from within us.


In Conclusion, Exercise integrity in the moment of choice to develop self-discipline. Steven Covey said, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” He also stated, “Integrity in the moment of choice and our quality of life depends on what happens in the space between stimulus and response.”

Self-discipline, more than any other personal quality I can think of, is the one thing that separates successful people from unsuccessful. Think of all it encompasses: honoring commitments, promises, and deadlines, keeping your life on schedule, and being willing to go the extra mile. Self-discipline is essential to success, the alternative is a life ruled by emotions, and none of us can afford that if we’re going to fulfill our purpose and reach our potential.



*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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