Be disciplined. Do it anyway.

Hello my Sunshines. I love you.

As your loving, hoping, dreaming, praying, completely invested mom, I want to see you shining your light as far, wide and brightly as humanly possible. I want you to have choices. I want to see you excel in whatever you choose to take on. I want to see you exploit your talents, skills and the best of each day you are gifted.  All that will require you to . . . “do it anyway.”

Doing anyway is all about discipline. It’s about pushing past the resistance toward what you really want. Do the thing you are inclined to avoid. The thing that is uncomfortable. The thing no one else is holding you accountable for. The thing with a result not guaranteed. Don’t feel like getting out of bed on a dark, February morning? Rip those covers off anyway. Don’t feel like studying one more hour for next week’s test? Open that book anyway. Really want to check that dinging phone while you’re driving? Keep your eyes on the road anyway. A pantry-pull would feel pretty good right now? Head to the fruit basket anyway. Work anyway. Hope anyway. Try anyway. Believe anyway.

At Procter & Gamble, “operates with discipline” was the most coveted core competency behind leadership. Why? Being disciplined makes us better. It is the prelude to numerous other capabilities like innovation and problem-solving. Fires are extinguished before they even start. We do our best work because the clock is not looking over our shoulder. When we “do it anyway,” we enjoy far more open doors and a strong personal equity of being reliable & trustworthy . . . to others, and importantly, ourselves. We make the most of each precious day. We reduce regrets. We gain pride.

Operating with discipline requires you to step out of the immediate. Think ahead, prioritize your goals above this moment’s desires and relish in the wonderful windfalls of doing so. I have yet to hear anyone say, “that workout was a complete waste of time!” Very few enjoy authentic career success without a preceding commitment to learning. Pushing through dozens of wind-sucking sprints, in the summer heat, by myself, month after month, back in the year 20-unimportant was not fun. Winning the iron women award for the best pre-season performance amongst my Purdue teammates was.

The pursuit of discipline comes with an unfortunate force: our own emotions. In her book “The 5 second rule,” Mel Robbins highlights research by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. Damasio discovered that people who could not feel any emotions due to brain damage could not make a decision. Emotions reign over logic. So often we do not feel like doing something hard for a reward with a wait-time attached (exercising, fixing a salad, opening the text book or phone-silencing) versus something that feels good now (watching tv, eating a bowl of chips, delaying studying or phone-checking). Mel offers her 5-second rule as a way to overcome the emotional draw of short-term pleasure in favor of our more deeply desired, longer-burn goals. Beware of your feelings and “do it anyway.”

I’ll conclude with some wisdom from others. Renowned entrepreneur and speaker Jim Rohn said: “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” Here’s another angle from Bobby Unser: “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” Here’s my add: preparation does not occur without discipline. Either discipline, or its absence, will be uncomfortable. We might as well convert the discomfort into the life we want. And so my unstoppable girls, when faced with doubt, discouragement, resistance or fear, I encourage you to “do it anyway.”

All my Love, Mom

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