I’ve been away for a while, but after catching up I’m back on track to continue our discussions!
Today we discuss the first section of our series on Coaching for Character. Today's topic: DISCIPLINE.
Coaches always say that discipline is important and how the team needs to be disciplined in order to be successful. What is discipline exactly? Merriam-Webster defines discipline as: (1) training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character (2) orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior (3) Self-control
Hmmmm…..from these definitions seems that discipline is a basic form of mental toughness. Not mental toughness in the sense that you are completely oblivious to everything around you, or getting beat to the proverbial pulp, but mental toughness as in staying the course and being focused on your goal.
The best definition of discipline that I can remember was given to me by my life trainer during my brief stay in the NFL – Mack Newton. His quote was simply: “discipline is doing what you should do, when you should do it, whether you like it or not.” I have to admit that immediately I thought the definition was dry and a bit blunt… but then again you would have to know Mack. That said, I took his words of wisdom and made them my personal mantra. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “The time is always right to do what’s right.”
Having played at Notre Dame I thought I understood what it took to work hard and give it my all. What I didn’t understand was how to give more than you have. Mack pushed me far beyond any physical or mental limit that I could have imagined. It was tough…in fact, it actually hurt like a…well, you know what I mean. The feeling of knowing that I gave everything I could give in an effort to be successful was one of the most rewarding feelings I had ever felt. Physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted yet happy to have competed…and that was just the workout!
It’s not always easy to discipline oneself. We all fall a little short of the “excellence” mark from time to time. Discipline in that vein comes from how resilient you are in regaining your composure and continuing on your journey. As I have told my students in the past: “None of us were born with a MANUAL OF LIFE in a little baggie; failure is a part of any success.” We have the power to decide how we handle any given situation in our lives. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we have total control of how we react to it in moving forward.