“Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” Roy L. Smith

I’ve noticed that the one thing that sets really great leaders apart from those who may only aspire to greatness is DISCIPLINE.  Yes, there may be a few other things you could point out…but discipline seems to be a consistent thread.  While I am not the best at this, I thought I’d share some current disciplines.  In some of these I am doing well…in others…not so well!

  • Bible – I read through the One Year Bible & I use Larry Stockstill’s devotional to go along with it.  I would love to say that I am on this EVERY day.  I’m not.  My goal is to read this 5 days a week.  Sometimes it ends up being more.  Hardly ever is it less.
  • Margin – This is “the amount available beyond what is necessary”.  I’m going to do a blog post on this later this week so I won’t dive in here.  I will say that margin IS a discipline.  The reason most people don’t have it is because most people use excuses to not practice discipline.
  • Physical – I work-out 6 days a week using P90X.  This is pretty much a given for me, I don’t miss.  There are some weeks I do 5 days.  I often have to get up early or stay up late…but I’m going to do it.  And no, I don’t always enjoy it.  I discipline myself because I don’t want to feel bad or look bad (not sure it’s helping much with the looks!).  Where I struggle in this is my eating.  Let’s just say, I like to eat!
  • Study – Outside of the bible I study other things; mainly leadership writings.  This happens 3 ways:  Podcasts – I listen to podcasts while I’m driving.  Blogs – I catch up on blogs every Tuesday morning.  Books – I read a portion of a book every day for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Money – I don’t spend everything that I make.  This is not a reflection of how much I may make.  It’s a reflection of decisions & discipline.  We did this when we didn’t make anything.  I’ve always tithed (10%), I ‘ve always saved (this has varied) & I’ve always lived substantially lower than my income.  I’ve never had more than 1 car payment.  I do want clothes at the mall, I just don’t buy them.  I have never had a credit card at a department store.  I don’t finance “consumer debt”.  I buy off season so things are cheaper.
  • Planning Ahead – I spend every Tuesday morning out of the office in a local coffee shop just getting ahead.  I plan, finish tasks, etc.  This is a non-negotiable time for me.
  • Rest – I take Friday off.  I mean OFF.  It’s genuinely a lazy day.  Here’s how this works for me:  I can still do stuff on Friday…I just don’t want anything PLANNED.  Not even dinner that night.  I just want to have one day with no agenda or an agenda that I make up in the moment.  Over the past couple of months I have stumbled a little in this area and I’ve felt it.  Working now to correct the ship.
  • Preaching – This is a painful discipline for me.  Here’s what I build around a message:  I like to prep 3 weeks ahead.  I’ll preach through it about 3-4 times the week of, usually changing portions every time.  I unplug on Saturday night before and usually rework a good portion of it based on how I’m feeling.  I get up EARLY on Sunday morning, read back through it at Starbucks & preach it twice in my office before service.  Then I’ll preach 3 times live.  On Wednesday of the following week I watch the video and make mental notes…and I cringe…a lot!

These aren’t all of the things I’m disciplined with…just a few.  How about you?  How are you doing with discipline?


5 responses to “Discipline

  1. Good stuff, Kev.

    Re: Margin – I suggest the book “Margin” by Richard Swenson.

  2. Another classic regarding disciplines is “Ordering Your Private World” by Gordon MacDonald.

  3. Gene — Thanks for the comments…I’ve ARRIVED! The original “Sugar Daddy” is reading my blog. Seriously, I have read Margin…loved it. I think that really shaped that value in me. I’ve heard of Ordering Your Private World, but haven’t read that one. I did enjoy Celebration of Discipline by Foster back in college. That seemed to have shaped a passion for discipline in me too.

  4. Great insight into this area Kevin, always enjoy reading your posts.

  5. I too have used the P90X and I love it. For the first time I actually saw my abs. I tried many other programs with no success. I finished the program and took a few months off from it ( still went to the gym ) and I have just recently started back. This Monday will make my 2nd week of round 2.
    I noticed that you had been loosing weight and toning up and I was wondering if you were using the same program and when I found my answer when I checked out your website. Keep up the good work and when it get’s hard, just keep pushing forward. The results are so worth it. Take care.


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