Category: Blog

Discipline & Two Kinds of Freedom

I was reading a recent AdvantEdge newsletter from Nightingale Conant and wanted to excerpt a paragraph from something Zig Ziglar wrote about discipline:

Stay Disciplined in your Approach

In today’s social climate, many people look with disfavor on the word discipline because they simply do not understand that discipline means “to instruct or educate, to inform the mind, to prepare by instructing in correct principles and habits.” No one who achieves greatness does so without discipline. Sybil Stanton, in her beautiful book The Twenty-Five Hour Woman, accurately states that “discipline is not on your back, needling you with imperatives; it is at your side, nudging you with incentives.” It’s true that when you discipline yourself to do the things you need to do, when you need to do them, the day’s going to come when you can do the things you want to do, when you want to do them. It’s also true that life is tough, but when you are tough on yourself, life will be infinitely easier on you.

Today many people want to be free to do as they please, but consider this: If you take the train off the tracks, it’s free — but it can’t go anywhere. Take the steering wheel out of the automobile, and it’s under the control of no one, but it is useless. The reality is that until the sailor disciplines himself to be obedient to the compass, he will have to stay within sight of shore. However, once he is obedient to that compass, he can go anywhere in the world the sailboat will take him. Yes, discipline is the missing ingredient that will make the difference in your life. Discipline yourself today so you can have a better life tomorrow.

I love how Zig brings the concepts of discipline and freedom together. Without “discipline” one can call themselves free, but free to do what?

Rejecting discipline does bring freedom.

But it’s a certain kind of freedom: freedom from.

Freedom from positive and constructive habits. Freedom from getting your work done so you can then do pleasurable activities “guilt” free. Freedom from the feelings of peace of mind and integrity that come from knowing and honoring your authentic desires and priorities.

On the other hand, discipline grants a different sort of freedom: freedom to.

When you are disciplined you are free to enjoy both your work and play because you know you’ve done what’s necessary with the former and that you will have time for the latter.

Discipline is really just good habits. Good habits come from knowing who you are and what you want.

When you haven’t taken the time to suss out what you want and who and what you are, you’re rudderless and subject to the shifting wind. You don’t have the power and energy that comes from Personal clarity.

I work with all my clients to get the basics down first. The “who are you really?” comes from really examining your self-esteem and self-concept. Understanding* where the mis-apprehensions are in those areas is critical to the next step: naming what you want.

The “what you really want?” creates a practical, here-and-now energy and drive to both create and execute a personal success plan.

When you have that plan, that well-founded and well-formed plan, then you’ll have discipline in abundance and be free to be, do and have anything you want.


* Of course, it’s not enough to merely understand that you don’t like yourself or don’t see yourself as whole and capable; I work with my clients to see – without any fluff, wishful thinking or mumbo-jumbo – their true worthiness and likability and clarify particular strengths and talents

Who Stops You From Succeeding?

No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You are responsible for what you think, what you feel and what you do.

What you think, what you feel and what you do determines what you create, who you become and the legacy you leave.

Just as important: your thoughts, feelings and actions create your moment-by-moment experience of life.

Whatever you have (or don’t have)  in life, you decide what it means – that, by extension, creates your feelings about who you are and what you’re capable of. (And your feelings around that are everything.)

Your life is up to you.

So, the tough – but absolutely necessary – question is:

What are you thinking, feeling and doing to keep what you want out of your life?

When you’re willing to accept that question as the one that really needs answering, and you answer it with curiosity, rigor and love, you will transform your life.

Moving Towards Audacity

Today, and every Monday (at least for a while), I am going to review last week’s posts, choose one and create an action exercise based on some aspect of the post.

This week’s Action Exercise (or at least that’s what I’m calling it right now) is investigating what it is we might really want, but – for some reason – aren’t taking any action on.

Specifically, something we don’t feel worthy to begin or ask for. Please read the post and come back.


Is there anything you’ve been holding back from asking for or starting, because you don’t feel “enough?”

The action exercise for this week is to once, preferably two or three times a day, do the following:

1) Set aside five-to-ten minutes when and where you can be quiet and undisturbed.

2) Take at least 30 seconds to sit with your eyes closed, just noticing your breath.

3) With a pen and paper, write out the following question: “Is there anything I’ve been saying no to in my life, that I really want?”

4) Without filter or judgement write down any and all things that come to mind.

Do this every day for at least five days, seven or more is better.

After five days, or however many you’ve done this exercise, review what you’ve written looking for something that keeps coming up, themes or something that moves and/or scares you.

Take that thing and ask yourself:

“If I were completely confident and willing to stumble and make mistakes in the starting and the doing of this, what would be the absolute first step?”

Do that.

You Find What You Seek

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. – Francis Bacon

Want some “truth?”

Whatever you focus on comes to pass.

Not necessarily exactly how you envision it (sometimes better… ), but usually close.

In most every phase of life you can look at life’s events as see them as “problems” or “opportunities.”

Your focus determines how things appear to you.

How things appear to you largely determines your actions.

Want to create more “opportunities?”

Change your focus (or strengthen it).

99% of the time what you’re presented with is an opportunity.

What Guides You?

Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship. – General Omar Bradley

So many people take their cues from without.

Whether it’s loved ones, friends, co-workers/bosses or popular culture, so many are (heavily) influenced by the continuous and myriad messages that permeate modern life.

The cure?

Learn to be quiet, and still.

Only then can you listen for the yearnings of your soul.

And once you finally calm down, and quiet down, you can begin to act in accordance with your authentic desires.*


* And not what others want for you (so they can feel safe and in control) and not what advertisers want for you (to want to be a certain way and spend – lots and lots of money – a certain way).