Discipline: The Bridge Between Desire and Delight

May 16, 2022

Crap! Someone said the “D”-word! It isn’t a four letter word, but it sometimes has the same shocking response. Discipline. What is discipline and how is it applied to business or investing? The question seems straight forward but it really isn’t. Many years ago I heard a pastor preach a sermon on discipline. He said, “First comes desire, then discipline is applied, and finally therein is delight.” Aside from the crafty alliteration, there was a huge amount of truth laid out in that sermon. Everyone starts out wanting to do something. In children this is seen very clearly and most of the time we also see the failure of the follow through. Parents will say to a friend that has become proficient in playing the guitar, “I wish my parents would have made me play an instrument.” Then later, sometimes in the same conversation they will say, “I tried to get Johnny to play piano, but he just didn’t like practicing so we quit.” Oh, the irony! Discipline is the activity, exercise or regimen that develops or improves a skill. When used as a verb it is the act of training by instruction and exercise or to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control. These definitions are from Dictionary.com. No wonder no one really likes the word. It just feels oppressive when you say it. 


 The truth is more positive than the dictionary leads you to believe. First, there is no such thing as discipline if there is no vision. Desire comes first. The child or the parent or the student first must want to learn. If a child doesn’t want to learn to read, there are ways to show them the benefits of reading and then help produce that desire. With music training, I think the first discussion you have with a kid who shows an interest in playing an instrument or learning vocal training is digging deep into the why. We have talked about this in a previous blog on having a compelling vision. On the way to his music lesson one day, I talked to my son about why he wanted to play the piano. At first all he could communicate is that he loved music. We started there. “It is great that you love music, but how does that make you want to learn to play the piano?” As I kept probing, I got to his vision/mission statement: “I want to learn to create music and share it with others so they can be happy like I am when I listen to music.” Remember, he was ten when this conversation went down. Pretty deep for a 10 year old. He still complains sometimes when we want him to practice or it is time to go to a lesson. However now, I just remind him of what he said. I am not demanding him to do something I want him to do. Instead, I am reminding him that he really wants to do this and it helps him, although sometimes with pouting, to push through and do it. When I began to learn guitar, it was just the same. I had a vision and it kept me practicing. You see the same thing in skate parks, kids working hours tirelessly on tricks. They have a vision and it produces discipline.  


So how does that apply to business or investing? Your vision will guide you in making decisions. When you have mapped out what is important to you and the model you have chosen, when opportunities come, the choices become easier. You have a standard on which to gage all opportunities. You aren’t being held accountable by your CPA, although they can help if you express your vision and have regular conversations. Our business coaching does this. We don’t set the direction and vision of your company, you do. We act as an accountability partner to help in your decision making process. Sometimes we might use tools like the Decision Matrix to help get you there. But all of the criteria and standards are from you, our client. The worst thing we can do is answer the question, “What would you do if it were you?” I know that is what clients want some times, but my answer isn’t the same as your answer. Why? My vision isn’t the same as your vision. Even if our goals are the same, my values, strengths and weaknesses, mission, resources and experience are not the same as yours either.  


Discipline is the bridge that brings you from that vision, "Desire" or mission to true fulfillment or "Delight". As I mentioned before, discipline works best with an accountability partner. If you have decided you are going to do something or pursue a strategy, tell your team, tell who you report to. Ask them to hold you accountable to that strategy or goal. Accountability only works when someone holds you to what you have set as a goal. You can't hold someone else accountable to your goals or your strategies and expect enthusiasm or follow through. That is the old command and control type of leadership. We have seen that that method of leadership doesn’t get you or your team its full potential. What it does is breed resentment and burnout. Whether you need discipline personally or your team needs more discipline, remember it is just the bridge. Start with the vision and then see how everything changes. 


I hope this helps! Please write a review, tell us what you think! I also have a podcast on Spotify called "Coaching for Profit". Visit our website at www.bkm-cpa.com or give us a call at 844-316-6528. BKM pc Certified Public Accountants, Your Virtual CPA Firm! 

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