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A Leader’s Way

The price tag of leadership: Self-discipline

/ 11:19 PM November 12, 2011

An excerpt from The Developing the Leader Within You Book

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves…Self-discipline with all of them came first.

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The Greek word for self-control comes from a root word meaning “to grip” or “take hold of.” This word describes people who are willing to get a grip on their lives and take control of areas that will bring them success or failure.

Aristotle used this same word to describe “the ability to test desire by reason…to be resolute and ever in readiness to end natural vent and pain.” He explained that people who are not controlled have strong desires which try to seduce them from the way of reason; but to succeed they must keep those desires under control.

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Once, while conducting a leadership seminar, I defined discipline in the beginning of life as the choice of achieving what you really want by doing things you don’t really want to do. After successfully doing this for some time, discipline becomes the choice of achieving what you really want by doing things you now want to do! I truly believe we can become disciplined and enjoy it— after years of practicing it.

All great leaders have understood that their number one responsibility was for their own discipline and personal growth. If they could not lead themselves, they could not lead others. Leaders can never take others farther than they have gone themselves, for no one can travel without until he or she has first traveled within. A great person will lead a great organization, but growth is only possible when the leader is willing to “pay the price” for it. Many potentially gifted leaders have stopped short of the payment line and found out that shortcuts don’t pay off in the long run.

This is what Edwin Markham has to say about human worth:

We are blind until we see

That in the human plan

Nothing is worth the making

If it does not make the man.

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Why build these cities glorious

If man unbuilded goes?

In vain we build the world

Unless the builder also grows.

Reprinted with permission from The John Maxwell Company and Inspire Leadership Consultancy. Raise your leadership skills by attending The Developing The Leader Within You workshop on Nov. 24-25 at The Edsa Shangri-La Hotel.

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