Ode to Discipline

Today, my Sales Engine colleague Jenny Poore runs the Boston Marathon. I can’t think of a better demonstration of what it means to be disciplined than this. So often, Jenny and I and our team find ourselves in discussions with sales teams and leaders about this concept of discipline. It’s slippery, even awkward sometimes. We can talk about what discipline is and what it looks like. But we know that what we are suggesting people do is hard, and we worry that people sometimes just don’t get it. For whatever reason, they are not ready.

So today, as I get ready to track Jenny’s progress via my iPhone, here are some thoughts about discipline she has inspired.

Discipline is putting yourself in front of opportunities to challenge yourself.

We grow as professionals (as people) when we push. You see something you want to learn or do, and you decide to do it. You don’t keep thinking about it. You decide. And in that decision, you risk failure. You risk pain. You risk rejection. Jenny decided she wanted to run marathons, so she did. She decided she wanted to qualify for Boston, so she did. She decided to run Boston, and today’s the day.

Discipline is practice.

Practice is underrated. We all want results, and we want them fast. But there’s something to be said for just plain old hard-pounding. We spend most of our time pounding, whether it be writing, selling, training, teaching, parenting, consulting, whatever. The report cards only come once in a while, but the practice happens every day. Jenny started training a long time ago. She knew what she had to do to qualify for Boston. No easy feat. She knew that she was adding something to her every day that would be hard. And she knew that the report card wouldn’t come for a long time.

Discipline is following through.

You say you are going to do something, so do it. Stop talking about it and start doing it. It was clear from the beginning of her training that Jenny took “stop” off the table. She ran when she didn’t feel like it. She ran in the rain and the snow. She trained when she had a lot of other work to do.

I salute you Jenny, and all of the other gutsy people who will see your back. You are all giving the rest of us a clinic on discipline. Go crush it.

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