This is a post about the transformative benefits of self-discipline, in the hopes that if you are stuck in life in ways that you feel limited and blocked from creating a really great life, from being your very best self, perhaps my sharing will create a new opening of possibility for you.
So ... this is not really a story about a high-school drop out teaching high school. But I guess it is. I did both. I dropped out of high school and I taught high school.
How does that work?
Let's begin with self-discipline.
This story is about self-discipline.
I believe self-discipline is the most underrated code of behavior.
OK, Where to begin?
For me, the place to begin this story is inside the context that I created for myself, and that is the context of self-discipline.
Suffice it to say, it was a very "event-filled" time of life for me. But more importantly, it was what I created for myself from all the events that unfolded, that I garnered a full scholarship from our country's first women's college, Mount Holyoke College, MHC.
Yes. A full-scholarhsip. Full. Though of course I had to fulfill the necessary requirement of earning a GED. Ha! Yes, can you imagine that the director of the Frances Perkins Scholars Association of our country's first college for women, the amazing Kay Altoff, literally "coached" me around getting a GED so that I could apply?
The criteria at the time that I was accepted to MHC was to demonstrate high motivation and ferocious tenacity, in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity across time.
Check, I could do that.
But not so fast. With my first application I was not accepted because I could not yet provide enough academic background for them to assess my capabilities and aptitude.
Think heartbreak. Think crushed.
After all my hard work at Central Connecticut State University, CCSU after all the calls to Altoff to get each class approved as solid foundation to attend MHC, how could this happen?
However, they did recommend I reapply so they could better assess my ability to keep up with the academic rigor of the school.
Reapply? I more felt like quitting. Giving up. Letting my 'fantasy' completely go.
But this is when the force of self-discipline-steam started to really amp up!
Though my mind let me release my dream of attending MHC, sorta', this school that now felt to me like "my" Yale University in the woods, a school that genuinely "cares" for women, my heart never let go. Mary Lyon, the foundress of MHC, pulled at me from my first visit to the campus with her guiding credo, "go where no one else has gone, do what no one else has done."
I returned to CCSU and immersed myself into my studies with laser focus. I was determined and my determination required high-level self-discipline. This is very likely when my, ummm ... my kind of "freak of nature" obsession for learning, personal development and growth began to possess me.
This new "game" of self-actualization and self-discipline began to feel like a really fun puzzle to put together.
I consciously and unconsciously queried, "If I exercise self-discipline in this area, what could I create?"
Personal development became my entertainment of choice, and self-discipline as a key player in this new game directed my course.
I went on to earn an MEd at Boston College and post-graduate work at Cornell Universtiy. I earned certification at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and participated extensively in transformation, success and personal development work with Landmark Education and Robbins International. I've worked with Spiritual directors, personal mentors, accountability partners, and literally 100s of success-driven teachers. I studied with Dr. Bob Marshal and was certified in Quantum Reflex Analysis, which is a healing modality that incorporates both Eastern and Western philosophy. I studied with author, nutritionist and detox specialist Natalia Rose, and yoga teacher training with Live, Love, Teach. And yup, I did teach High School History at one of Boston's premier high schools for 2 years!
Heck, I walked on fire several times at Anthony Robbins events, traveled abroad several times and now I am building a business of contribution and service that is beyond the dreams I ever even imagined!
What did I sacrifice? Immediate gratification?
Self-Discipline is non-negotiable.
I can create goals. I can intend to achieve this or achieve that all day long, but without self-disciplined follow through, forget about it!
Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effec taught me a formula and it really resonated with me when I learned it, because it was a formula life already taught me. Hardy wrote in his book," "Small, smart choices + consistency + time = radical difference."
For me, this formula says to let go of immediate gratification and choose to forgo what I want now, and do what I know I need to do right now, repeatedly, over time, and I can create a life that literally moves mountains.
This game, this obsession to be the very best me I can be, while here in this one lifetime, with self-discipline guiding my decisions and my ability to take on 100% responsibility transformed my whole life.
This obsession was purely Spirit-driven -- no doubt.
Tony Robbins says "success without fulfillment is failure." By making small smart choices, I created the extraordinary opportunity to literally be of service in the world in ways that I know makes a difference beyond my one little life and I love every minute of it!
You've tried. You've failed. You've tried again, to no avail, but you are eager to "pick your game up." You are eager to blow out all the reasons that continue to stop you from moving forward every step of the way. You are eager to drop all the reasons that get in your way to choose powerfully.
So my question to you is, where have you been playing small? Where have you allowed reasons to pull you out from going after what you really want? If you don't' shift 'your health game,' let's say, what do you think the consequences will be in your life, in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years?
Equally important to consider, what are the benefits you gain from not challenging yourself in the ways that you know will serve you well? Are those benefits just immediate gratification?
If you struggle with answering any of these questions I encourage you to find an accountability partner, or a coach to raise your bar, to challenge you, to call you out when you know you are "hiding out," from living your Highest potential and very best self.