Sheryl Sandburg is the Chief Operations Officer of Facebook
and a working mom and wife.
She is also the author of Lean In: Woman, Work and the Will To Lead. Over and over in her book, Sheryl points to something that seems to be missing in many of our daily lives: discipline. Without discipline, you will never achieve your dreams because you will not have the organization and strength to move toward them in a way that guarantees success.
Discipline is not a difficult concept to understand, but it is sometimes very difficult to put into action. The word comes from the Latin disciplina which simply meant to “teach or guide.” Later, the word took on a negative connotation: to scourge or beat into submission.
I prefer the original Latin meaning. Discipline means teaching yourself or someone else to follow a pattern that brings success. It also embodies the idea of choosing to improve and setting your sights on the future.
Let me give you an example of how discipline should work. Let us suppose that you have the goal of running a 5K race and placing in the top 10. Remember, the more specific your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it! What does discipline and learning have to do with this goal? Plenty, as we shall see!
First, in order to place in the top 10, you must find out what the top ten average speed is. Are these people running a 15-minute mile or a 10-minute mile? The faster they are, the more vigorously you will have to train to reach your goal. As for running 5K, if you have never run before, it is time to start thinking about getting out there and putting the feet to the road! However, you are probably not going to run 3.1 miles your first time out. How do you get from sitting on the couch to running a 12-minute mile? Discipline is the answer.
I promise you that if you get up this morning, put on your shoes and walk 3.1 miles at a brisk pace, then increase your speed gradually every single day over the next three months, you will be running that 5K. This is because you are disciplining, or teaching, your body to accept that type of physical activity level. As your body gets used to the work, it becomes easier.
Be it your career, relationships or motherhood- It is vital to put a focused, diligent effort into what you want to achieve. Discipline is one of the best qualities to carry when leading by example.