This is a true story. I haven’t even changed the names to protect the guilty.
If you’ve poked around this blog at all, you’ve noticed that discipline is a big subject for me. In just about every post, I will somehow allude to the fact that discipline separates winners from losers. I’m a big believer in not neglecting the small daily disciplines that add up to big successes. I’m constantly telling people to sweat the small stuff.
I’m also a big believer in hard work. I even wrote a post about how my generation watched their parents preach work/life balance to the point that they forgot to work. It’s a pretty big high horse I’ve been riding around on and that’s why for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why the hell I was stuck. I, Mr. Discipline, was being lazy. I, Mr. Sweat The Small Stuff, was neglecting all of the little things that I knew were easy to do. I was embarrassed, I was ashamed, and I was depressed.
How Could This Happen?
While I was still showing up for work every day, it had been a long time since I had been showing up in my life. It was kind of a fog and I slowly moving through it, making all kinds of good excuses, and I was good at it. In fact, I am a world class excuse maker. I blamed the fact that they fair ended. I blamed the fact that I didn’t like summer. I blamed the fact that no one was reading my blog. I blamed my diet. (There’s actually something to this one, but that’s another story.) I was blaming everyone and everything except for some reason, I couldn’t blame myself.
Let me add at this point that the two things that I despise the most are weakness and laziness. I despise them the most when I see them in myself and for the month of August, it was on full display. I wasn’t eating well. I was weak. I wasn’t going to the gym. I was lazy. I wasn’t developing content, reading, working on myself or for myself. I was being lazy and weak.
The Big Mo
Just recently, after a really enlightening coaching call where I was called out on all of my bullshit, I was hit with a startling realization; I’m not dealing with a laziness problem, I’m dealing with a momentum problem.
If you know me at all, what you’ve read above is probably pretty surprising. I’m known for my work ethic. I’m known for my discipline. I’m known for having only one speed; wide open. I don’t take days off. I don’t take breaks and I don’t cheat on my diet. I’m pretty much an all or nothing sort of person. Moderation has never really worked well for me. And this is my problem. I’m not good at taking a break before I need it. I keep going until I’m burned out and then the laziness and weakness that I despise so much creep back in and steal my resolve. I haven’t had the discipline to rest and it’s killed my progress.
As long as I’m rolling, it’s pretty easy to keep me moving. I enjoy working and I enjoy the process. I actually enjoy the discipline. It’s once I stop, that getting me moving again become a task of monumental proportion. One day off becomes three. Three days turn into a week and then I’ve wasted an entire month making excuses. The frustrating part of all of this is that it could have been avoided if I had just forced myself to slow down. Not stop, but slow down before I needed all of my efforts again. I didn’t but wish like hell now that I had.
What This Means
This is a longer, more personal than normal post. I’m writing it because of this realization that a really good coach helped me hit upon has lessons applicable to almost anyone. Building virtually anything is a game of momentum. It’s so much easier to keep going than it is to start over from a dead stop. In the future, I’m going to be more mindful of when I just need to slow down and find the strength that I know I have to find the discipline to rest.