Discipline, specifically self-discipline is a critical component to a successful and satisfying business. In fact, it was the underlying theme in response to a question I posed in a recent email asking women about their biggest challenge at the moment. Almost everyone identified self-discipline … disciplining ourselves to do the work “necessary” to advance our career, create a healthier lifestyle, improve relationships, keep ourselves organized and focused, and to create balance in our lives (read more about balance here).

Discipline has such a negative “feel” to it, doesn’t it?

To me, it brings up images of a teacher with a ruler ready to crack my knuckles if I “step out of line.” Not pleasant. Not inviting. And, certainly NOT motivating. How about you? What vision comes up for you when you think of discipline?

I’m guessing nothing pleasant, inviting, and motivating.

Why is it, then, that we feel the need to rely on discipline alone to be productive, make things happen, and motivate ourselves?

The concept that self-discipline will motivate us to do more and be better feels a bit heavy to me; sort of a ball and chain to drag around to ensure we don’t (easily) venture too far out into the wild.

I will agree: We do need discipline within our day to make things happen … to create that life we envision for ourselves. The one we’re reaching for.

Yet, when we phrase it as “self-discipline” it feels more like a “should” than something we want to do to design and create that which we desire.

Discipline will push us to do more (at times), but I invite you to think about what would feel better to you when looking at your mile long “to-do” list? Because, when we feel better, we do better—physically, emotionally, and financially.

Discipline also has the ability to keep us stuck. Let me explain….

When we come from a place of “needing to” and “should do,” it feels a bit heavy and takes away from our drive—our motivation to continue the “work” towards our goals.

Then, as things get difficult (and they inevitably do as we stretch, learn, and grow), and our to-do list looks like a three-headed monster, it becomes easy to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, agitated, and perhaps even lazy which in turn makes it is easy for us to get tripped up in the mind chatter and fall behind on our daily, weekly, monthly to-do lists … and, eventually, feel like we don’t have the discipline it takes at all.  And then we compromise on our dream, or let go of it all together.

Soon after, the voice of self-doubt starts to question our intentions, our abilities, and our “discipline” … and we question if we actually have what it takes. (Read more about self-doubt, the voice of our inner critic here).

Our definition—our “story”—of what self-discipline is, what it “should” look like in our lives and along our journey to success, has an amazing ability to wreak havoc with our success.

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Our idea of discipline can get in the way of us noticing our successes as we move along our path.  And let’s be honest here, we need to own and embrace our successes along the way (big AND small). Otherwise, what’s the point of it all?

Its the journey that fills our buckets, not the end result.

It’s the feeling of driving that shiny red convertible, not the car itself.

Curiosity and compassion … two beautiful and oh-so-supportive words in the English language.

When we get curious about and connect to our WHY of what we want, this allows us compassion for our Self in our busy days (read more about our Why is our way to success here).

It shifts the focus and feel to more of a pull towards our dreams and goals, rather than a push.

Pushing has resistance.  A pull has a magnetic feel to it, drawing you to what it is you want in this one big beautiful life.

Talent, strength, and passion are wonderful assets to get us moving in the direction of our dreams. But they aren’t always enough to keep us on track when things get bogged down in the not so sexy details of creating the life we want.

Shifting our mindset to think about our steps, our to-dos, our “shoulds,” as more of a gift to our Self instead of as a cost, will allow the grip of self-discipline to soften.

Motivate yourself not by fear or by what you don’t want, but by connecting to what each step along the path will ultimately give you.

Define what self-discipline means to you. Be specific.

Where did your beliefs around self-discipline originate?  Are they serving you to be the best version of your Self?

What new beliefs around self-discipline would support you in being the woman, wife, mother, friend, business woman you intend to become?

What new beliefs would support you in going for your goals and attaining them?

What successes along the way have you failed to celebrate?  Write them down and keep them where you can look at them whenever you need. Celebrate and motivate yourself to continue. Use discipline—self-discipline—to help, not hinder, the journey.

I’d love to hear your comments. Are you ready to stop relying on self-discipline alone and start leaning into your strengths to “pull” you towards your goals? Click Here to download an application for a free Clarity Consultation with me … let’s get you intentionally moving towards the life and business of your dreams, now!