Being Your Own Boss: Discipline

It's a necessary life skill.



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Discipline. Man, I have such a love hate relationship with this very necessary skill in my life. I think when we all think of discipline, we think of the term punishment. When we were kids, punishment could’ve been a form of “discipline” which is why I think there is so much lack of it in people’s lives. Shall we get technical? I think we shall.


punishment |ˈpəniSHmənt|

noun

the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense; the penalty inflicted; rough treatment or handling inflicted on or suffered by a person or thing.


discipline |ˈdisəplən|

noun

the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior; the controlled behavior resulting from discipline; activity or experience that provides mental or physical training; a system of rules of conduct;

a branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education.


I think what people don’t realize is that punishment and discipline go hand in hand. Punishment is like paying a penalty— essentially, it’s a consequence. When we are not being self-disciplined, we usually end up paying a price and suffering the consequence. But can we just take a moment and realize that Punishment and Discipline are two different things?


My ballet master, Philip Pegler, said to me during class: “Self discipline is a tool that we have and must use to correct our way of thinking. Wrong mindsets can be detrimental to our health, our life, and can affect our ability to make decisions and can potentially leave us with regret. You’re thinking about the movements all wrong. So ask yourself, what is the right way of thinking?”


That hit me hard and I’ve never forgotten it since he shared this with me. Discipline affects your action. Which explains a lot when you really think about it. When you’ve told yourself to do something for so long but haven’t actually followed through with it, it means that there is a lack of discipline which aids you in your follow through, your action. The lack of discipline in people’s lives can cause them to stay stuck in the same place for years at a time.


Discipline in regards to mindset can be difficult to fix. The fact of the matter is, you’ve thought about “X” a certain way for so long, it may be very hard and extremely taxing to change your perspective, which requires mental discipline.


For example, in ballet, when it’s wrong, it’s wrong. I’d been doing certain steps wrong for so long that it was engrained in me— it wasn’t just a habit, it was correct in my brain, which meant when I changed my mindset from “that’s right” to “that’s wrong,” it took a lot of mental discipline to make myself perform it the correct way.


Again, mental discipline gives you the ability to take action.


In being your own boss, you don’t have someone showing up at your desk saying, “You need to do x, y, & z by x o’ clock on Monday.” When you’re first starting out, usually, you have no one. You don’t have an executive team, employees, a personal assistant, etc. It’s just you, yourself, and you, which can be really awful at times. I’ve been there, throwing my pen across the room and tossing my planners on the floor and having a nervous breakdown because I’m overwhelmed with things I really don’t have a grid for. When you don’t understand something, it takes mental discipline to get yourself to researching what it is you don’t know how to do. It takes mental discipline to make yourself do something that may seem really overwhelming to you in the moment. But guess what? When you get past that feeling of “I can’t, I won’t, I don’t want to” and you actually do it, there’s such an incredible feeling of “Wow, I got this! I’m a freakin’ boss!”

In being your own boss, you don’t have anyone bossing you around. That’s both a pro and a con of being your own boss, because as a pro, it means you don’t have another person to answer to, but as a con, it means you have to be so adamant and put it as a priority to exercise self-discipline every single day.


So what are some small ways to practice exercising self-discipline?


1. Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day.

I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. I used to STRUGGLE so much with waking up every single day, especially in the season where I was struggling with my mental health. Whenever I heard my alarm go off, I snoozed it, which made me late, which made me stressed, which made me tense, which caused all this build up of emotion and like a volcano, would erupt either later that day or later that week. That’s not even remotely healthy!


So I began to train myself to wake up every single day at 5AM. Thank to Amy Landino’s How To Wake Up At 5AM video (which is brilliant and you MUST check it out), I found some practical ways to help myself get up that early every morning. Was it difficult? Heck yes! It took me two full weeks of consistently waking up, Monday through Sunday to be able to comfortably wake up that early every day. Once I had a good morning routine filled with self care and me-time to get me going before starting my day, I allowed myself to sleep in until 6AM on the weekends.

And yes, you’re probably thinking, “6AM is NOT sleeping in.” Well, for me, it is, because I have to wake up and go to work on Saturdays and wake up and go to church on Sunday’s. But there’s plenty of nap time during the day on those days so that can make up for it.


2. Drink More Water

Do you know how much discipline it takes for me to drink water? It’s kind of ridiculous, and kind of annoying to be totally honest with you. It literally takes me saying to myself, “Stop what you’re doing and pour yourself a glass of water.” I actually make a pitcher of lemon water, grab a glass, and set it on the shelf next to my desk in my space so I don’t have to leave my space to go get water. I’ve convinced myself it’s a way to stay in the zone and still meet my quota of water.


3. Stick To Your Calendar

Now, I know a lot of people that don’t use a calendar or a planner, so if you’re that person, you either need to learn how to use one, or if you don’t really care, just skip to the next one.


I am addicted to filling out my calendars. Yes, I have multiple. I have a personal planner, a work planner, and my google calendar which is mostly so my team, interns, and my family can see what my schedule looks like. Once it’s all filled out, it’s almost like you think the hard part is done. No, no, no. That’s not the case. It’s sticking to that planner that’s the hard part. And you know, I used to absolutely stink at sticking to my calendar, but then I had to use self-discipline to change my mindset because every time I put something off, it set me back a day, a week, a month, a couple months, etc. And I was tired of falling behind in my goals.


4. Be Consistent At Making Time For Yourself

This one is for all my introverts out there! Yes, introvert club, you need to stop saying yes to everything and stop being such push-overs and learn to set boundaries. And yeah, some people are going to get offended when you tell them, “I’m not coming to that, I need to take care of myself.” Some people see that as selfish. Ha! You don’t want to see the way I look at someone after somebody tells me that.


Look, if you’re going to be your own boss, you need to take a full day off. For me, that’s my Sunday, and everyone knows that. I fight for my Sundays, believe me. I go to church, which is not work for me unless I am feeling particularly antisocial that day. For the rest of the day, I do what I want to do. I’ll go color and draw. I’ll go run around the park. I’ll sit in bed and watch a movie. I’ll read a book. I’ll go hang out with friends or go on a date with my Dad. I don’t pick up my phone for work, in fact, it’s on DO NOT DISTURB all day long. I’m not on social media much on my day off, and I don’t check my emails, I don’t return phone calls, etc. If people need to get a hold of me, I tell them that they can call and leave a message or send me a text and I will get back to them on Monday.


I also have begun giving myself “self-care” time for at least an hour every morning. During this time, I do things such as morning pages, meditation, read, listen to music and color, and spend time with God. I find that when I do this, it really does set my day up for success because I am going into my day refreshed and rejuvenated and feeling like I can take on the world, and everyone wants to feel like that at the beginning of their day. So don’t be afraid to say no to things that may try and replace your time.

You are valuable. You need to value yourself. You need to take care of yourself because you are worth it.


And yes, *sighs. I’m talking to myself here too.


These are just a few small things that you can do to begin exercising that muscle that may not be awake right now. But eventually, you will feel the impact of what self-discipline can bring to your life in the most positive ways. Sure, it’s very tough at first. But that’s why you need a why, your push, the thing that drives you to continue being consistent at discipline.


But the WHY, that’s for next week.


Peace out!





Hey, guess what?! You can now listen to this blogpost on SoundCloud! Listen to How To Be Your Own Boss Series!

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