When you hear the word discipline, what is the first thing that pops up for you? Many of us have some resistance around the word because of growing up and how it was used with us. I grew up in a military family where my father was the boss. There were very strict rules and guidelines – yes, sir, yes, mam, lots of order and discipline. You had dinner at 5 p.m., the 4 girls cleaned up, did homework, bathed and got to bed and did the same routine each evening. We all had our chores to do on given days and times. We had to be home at the exact time we were told to be in, or we would be grounded an evening for every minute we were late. I felt like it was rigid but I became a disciplined person.
As I grew older, I could make other choices on how I handled my life if I desired. At first, I didn’t realize there were other ways of doing things. But as I had more of life experiences, I saw all kinds of ways of handling situations like being on time to work, school or appointments. Wow, was I glad I knew how to be on time.
Like most things, I think you realize the wisdom in some of the things you were taught. I have been grateful that I had the discipline and order in my life because it allowed me to be someone that people could count on. It provided me with some structure and security by knowing what to expect. The downsize is that I, too, became rigid in the ways I expected things to be done. Later, I realized most things didn’t have to be so right or wrong. Life has a way of mellowing you.
What I know from my coaching, discipline is a major tool to living the best life you can. Discipline actually frees you because you have established boundaries for your life. It allows you to follow through with your commitments, set some structures and anchors in your life, take responsibility for your actions, and do what you say you are going to do.
Where in your life could you use more discipline? Or less?