It All Comes Down To Discipline

April 21, 2020

I’ve never seen Creed, but this graphic caught my eye on Facebook not long ago.

I believe all of that to be true. The older I get, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that success in just about anything comes down to discipline.

It’s about knowing what we need to do and going out and doing it. The “knowing what to do” part is the mental — what’s in our brain. The “doing it” part is the physical — what our body does. The bridge between them is discipline.

If you know what you need to do to succeed, but you don’t do it … it’s not your brain’s fault and it’s not your body’s fault. It’s because you lacked the discipline to connect them.

If you want to lose weight and/or get in better shape, it’s really not all that difficult*. We all know that we need to eat better/less and exercise more. For most people, that’s all it is. But we lack the discipline to do that — and I include myself in this because I’ve been 10-15 pounds heavier than I should be and want to be for about 15 years now.

Many years ago when I was still an SEO consultant, I had a client — a dermatologist with one office in northern California who wanted to become an international skin care brand. Dr. Cynthia Bailey wanted to become an expert and influencer in skin care, because she’d created a line of skin care products and wanted to sell them online.

When I started working with her, I outlined a plan to accomplish that. I told her it would require a lot of work on both of our parts, and that it would take a while to happen. I told her she’d need to create high-quality content on a regular basis — multiple blog posts every week. I told her she’d need to make herself available for media interviews to grow her brand and visibility (and earn some high-quality, editorial links along the way).

She was on board and we got to work. Fortunately, Dr. B had the discipline to do her part — she wrote and wrote and wrote, and it was great content. Readers loved it and started ordering her skin care products. Google loved her content and promoted her to the same level of medical trust that they gave to organizations like the Mayo Clinic. On some skin care searches, Google showed her content as the authoritative medical answer — this was long before the days of Featured Snippets (that sometimes get given to questionable sites).

Dr. B went from earning less than $100/month in e-commerce revenue to making … well, I don’t have permission to say how much she was making when my career changes forced me to stop working with her in 2012-13 … but it was exponentially more than where we began.

And it all happened because she had the discipline to bridge the knowledge of what to do with the actual work of doing it.

I think this applies across the board in so many areas of our lives. We know what to do to succeed — have a strategy, create a plan with smart tactics, put in the hard work, etc.

But why do we sometimes fail even when we know exactly what to do succeed? Discipline. I really believe that.

*I know that some people are unable to lose weight due to medical conditions/reasons, no matter how much discipline they have. My mom was that way — she had a form of diabetes that she couldn’t overcome no matter how much she wanted to lose weight.

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