Self-Discipline In A Leader

Self-Discipline: So important in a Leader


As we continue on the journey of learning the mindset of a leader, I have found that ALL great leaders have mastered the art of self-discipline in their lives. Without it, a leader cannot be successful!

In the book. “The Way of the Leader”author Donald G. Krause, talks about the importance of self-discipline in the life of a leader. Here are some excerpts to stimulate your thinking on this important subject and hopefully inspire you to ACTION:


  • A leader tends to live by a set of rules or principles that he determines are appropriate for him and acceptable to his constituents (followers or team). A leader does not need external motivation to ensure performance.  
  • Self-discipline is the basic ingredient of self-control and the foundation of self-respect. If an executive lacks self-discipline, self-control, or self-respect, even if he is the person in charge he will not, in fact, be the leader.
  • Self-discipline means; at the most personal level, means that you do not attempt to deceive yourself. Always be careful what you think and do, but be particularly careful when you believe you are alone.Practice self-restraint in your private life. Remember a person’s opinion of himself eventually shows in his face and is reflected in his outward behavior. A true leader exercises self-discipline through controlling his thoughts and action even when he believes that no one else can see him.
  • An effective leader exhibits a poised, self-assured, direct, and controlled demeanor under all circumstances. A controlled manner bestows powerful competitive advantages.
  • Above all, an effective leader is dignified without being arrogant. Arrogance comes from ignorance and lack of self-confidence. When a person displays arrogance he is confirming that he knows very little about true dignity and more importantly, very little about true leadership.
  • Few people will admit their own failures and ever fewer will acknowledge that the true cause of failure lies within themselves. But a person who practices self-discipline and continuously develops his level of skill seldom fails in the long run. 
  • An effective leader worries about his own shortcomings and seeks improvement from within. When a person demands excellence from others, but never corrects problems within himself, he cannot lead.
  • Study widely; inquire sincerely; adhere steadfastly to your principles; consider carefully your experiences, what works and what does not work for you. It is in doing these things that you will discover the meaning of excellence. Moreover, find the best leaders and emulate their methods. In this way, you will also discover the meaning of leadership.
  • Excellence in leadership or anything else is not something remote or difficult to find. We need only practice self-discipline, and it (excellence) will begin to appear in our lives!

Heart Of A Champion

Nikki Caldwell, UCLA head women's basketball coach

To have a heart of a champion one must possess the following:







The Ability to Overcome.

TRAIN your heart to beat to those qualities.

– Nikki Caldwell, UCLA women’s basketball head coach

Procrastination: A Big Reason We Don’t Accomplish Our Goals


Dr. AR Bernard, pastor, Christian Cultural Center (CCC)

On New Year’s Eve, my post came from Brian Tracy’s blog that laid out a 7-Step process for setting goals for our year. I have been studying this process as I also apply it to my life and still had a questionEven with all this great advice from Brian Tracy and others; why is it that I (we) don’t always accomplish my (our) goals?

Well, I don’t know about YOU, but a big reason for me is the dreaded word: PROCRASTINATION!!  (Dum dee dum dum music :)) Just typing the word makes me “shudder” because it is a big obstacle for me.

So, my family and I go to New Year’s Eve service at our church, Christian Cultural Center (CCC), in Brooklyn, NY, and guess what my pastor, Dr. AR Bernard, is speaking about? You guessed it: procrastination! We are blessed to have a pastor that gives us tools to live successful lives and make a difference in our culture & society!

So, I am going to share an excerpt from my notes on his teaching (he teaches more than he preaches) on “Why People Procrasinate.” He was also encouraging us to set goals and objectives for 2010 (I will blog more on that later), but also acknowledged this huge potential hurdle and how to handle it. I hope it helps you as you pursue your dreams, goals, and objectives:

Reasons People Procrastinate:

1. Fear.

  • People put things off because of fear of change.
  • To do it you have to change: your attitude or self awareness and to avoid that they will put it off.
  • Fear of criticism. Afraid of disappointing people and they put off confrontation or having to deal with their own character flaws. Or what they have presented themselves to be and people will not see that what they are is really different.
  • Fear of failure so they would rather not do it.
  • Fear of inadequacy. Feeling that they don’t measure up to the task. Someone will notice that they are inadequate to handle this task..
  • Fear of making mistakes. Rejection, or starting something else you know you won’t finish. The task may be something new and take you out of comfort zone

2. Feeling overwhelmed.

  • When you are buried underneath things you fall under the “spell” of putting things off because you have so much to do!

3. Indecisiveness.

  • Lacking the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively

4. Lack of a deadline.

  • Deadlines are important because they are guidelines and spur action.

5. Over commitment.

  • “Don’t let your mouth burden your back.” (Great quote)
  • Learn how to use “yes” and “no” effectively

6. Resentment.

  • Disappointed in what you have been given to do.
  • “I don’t wanna to do that!” (waaa waaa!)  
  • We resent that it is part of our job.
  • During this time, you even go through a whole mode where you think you are being treated unfairly

7. Unclear goals.

  • Goals are like magnets. The clearer the goals the stronger the pull to accomplish them.

8. Unpleasant or boring task.

  • You will find every excuse for doing it later
  • Many times we have to do what we have to do, before we can do what we want to do! – Zig Ziglar (para-phrased)

9. Distraction. (THIS IS HUGE!) 

  • Distractions allow you to do something more pleasurable to you instead of doing what you don’t like.
  • Distractions will also make this “diversion” seem more important that accomplishing your true goals & objectives.
  •  When you put off something and become distracted it reduces the anxiety for not doing the thing you are putting off.
  • But this is only temporary and you still have to come back and face the thing being put off.


  1. Procrastination is a symptom of some area of stress in your life.
  • You will not stop procrastinating until you know why you are putting it off. What the stress is…..?
  • It is time for us to change what we do to accomplish our goals and objectives
  • We have to put off all the excuses and confront whatever is giving you the stress.
  • Stop talking about the inadequacies and all other excuses, and face it straight on and deal with it so God can bless you and take where he wants to take you in life!!!!
  • In 2010 leave that thing or person (that is holding you back) tonight and walk away and don’t look back.
  • You have to deal with the area of stress and anxiety in your life that is robbing you of your future.
  •  Don’t be robbed
  • So many things have happened in our lives and we feel “beaten down and discouraged”
  • Don’t allow yourself to feel so beaten down that you forget what God has said that he would do for you in your life.


Wow, huh? I was inspired too! I am still digesting this teaching and intentionally implementing it in my life!

  • Do you know the definition of insanity? “Doing things the same way and expecting different result!”
  • There are things that did not work for me last year & I am ready to stop “acting insane!.”  I am going to change my methods in certain areas but staying committed to my goals.

I AM READY TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL 2010 – HOW ABOUT YOU?? JOIN ME & visit “Mindset of A Leader” often!!

Planning Your Year – Setting Goals For A GREAT 2010!


The following is adapted from Brian Tracy’s blog. I receive an email everytime he has a new post. I suggest that if you haven’t already, SUBSCRIBE to a great leader, or leaders’ blog(s) and learn all you can!

Now for Brian’s post on Planning Your Year”:








    Planning Your Year by Brian Tracy

 Posted: 30 Dec 2009 12:01 PM PST

There has never been a better time in all of human history to be alive than today.

There are more opportunities for you to accomplish more things, in more different fields, engaging in more different activities, than have ever existed before.

Resolve today to make 2010 the very best year of your life.

Resolve today to draw a line under your past and to focus very clearly on your future.

Resolve today that you are going to set goals, make plans, take actions and achieve more in the coming year than perhaps you have ever accomplished in any one single year before.

One of the great rules for success is this: “It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from; all that really matters is where you’re going!”

No matter what you have done or accomplished in the past, “that was then and this is now.”

The very best days, weeks, months and years of your life lie ahead. The most exciting accomplishments and the greatest achievements are still to come. As Shakespeare said, “The past is merely a prelude.”

As it happens, everyone has goals. But some people seem to accomplish their goals far more systematically and with greater assurance than others. Why is this? The answer is simple. People who accomplish goals at a higher rate than the average are people who use a systematic, proven method of goal setting and goal attainment.

Focus and Concentration

Perhaps the two most important qualities of success are focus and concentration. Focus means knowing exactly what it is you want and concentration means having the discipline to concentrate single-mindedly on one thing, the most important thing, until it is complete.

If you have these qualities, and both of these qualities are learned through practice, you can accomplish virtually anything. There are no limits on your future if you can focus and concentrate every hour of every single day.

Back From the Future Thinking

The starting point of setting goals for the coming year is for you to project forward and think back. Practice what we call “Back from the Future” thinking. Project forward to the end of the next twelve months and ask yourself, “If everything happens perfectly, what will it look like?”

The one quality of men and women who become leaders in their own lives and societies, throughout all of history is the quality of vision. They have the ability to visualize. They can see the future well in advance of it becoming a reality. They can then see the steps that they will need to take to get from where they are to where they want to go.

So if your next twelve months were ideal, in every respect, what would happen or, what would have happened, at the end of that twelve month period?

You need to set goals that are multi-dimensional. You need to set goals for every part of your life so that you function like a well-oiled machine, like a balanced wheel that goes around smoothly in every respect. You need goals for your health, for your career, for your finances, for your relationships, for your personal and professional development, for your community and for your spiritual growth.

Nothing happens by accident. Everything happens for a reason. And you are the “primary creative force” in your own life. You are the reason. Things are happening in your life because you make them happen, not because you sit around and wait for them to happen.

7-Step Goal Setting Model

Here is the basic seven-step model of goal setting. You can use this like breathing in and breathing out on a regular basis to accelerate your attainment of any goal you can imagine for yourself.

Step One

Step number one is for you to decide exactly what you want. This immediately moves you into a separate category of people because most people have no idea of what they really want.

Clarity is the most important single quality of goal-setting and perhaps the most important single quality of success. Decide exactly what you want in each area of your life. Instead of fuzzy goals like more money, better health and happiness, be specific about exactly how much more money you want to earn in a specific period of time and combine that with exactly what level of health and fitness you desire.

Most people are unconsciously preoccupied with the fear of failure. It is the greatest single obstacle to success in adult life. And the fear of failure can work on you unconsciously by blocking you from setting clear specific goals.

Why? Well, if you don’t set clear, specific goals, then you can’t fail to achieve them. So your subconscious mind is actually protecting you by helping you to avoid failure.

You must resist and overcome this tendency by having the courage to be bold and specific about exactly what you want.

Step Two

Write your goal down on paper.

Only three percent of living Americans, or adults anywhere for that matter, have written goals. Everyone else that thinks about a written goal and plans to write them down, someday. But they never get around to it. Most people spend more time making a list of groceries before they go shopping or planning a vacation than they do in planning their lives. But again, this is not for you. Success begins with a pad of paper, a pen and a few minutes of your time. One of the most important keys to success is to “think on paper.”

All successful people “think on paper.” And here are two important points. If you cannot write it down clearly and specifically on a piece of paper, then it means that you are not really clear about it yourself. Perhaps you don’t even want it. What is worse, it may be that you are afraid that you may not attain it. Nonetheless, a goal that is written down is merely a fantasy or a wish. A goal that is clearly written and described on a piece of paper takes on a power of its own, it is now something concrete that you can touch and feel and work with.

The second principle of writing goals down is that something miraculous happens between the head and the hand. When you actually write a goal down, it is as if you are programming it into your subconscious mind and activating a whole series of mental powers that will enable you to accomplish more than you ever dreamed of. By writing it down you intensify your desire for the goal and you increase your belief that the goal is possible.

You begin to expect to achieve the goal and you start to attract people and circumstances into your life that are consistent with the attainment of the goal. Writing your goal down is one of the most amazing of all goal-setting skills and it is a key to your success.

Step Three

The third step is for you to set a deadline. If it is a large goal, set a series of sub-deadlines. A deadline acts as a “forcing system” on your subconscious mind and begins to move you toward your goal rapidly while it moves your goal toward you.

Sometimes people ask me, “What if I set a goal and I don’t achieve it by the deadline?” The answer is simple. Set another deadline.

Remember, a deadline is a guess-timate of when you will achieve it. Sometimes you will achieve your goal well in advance of your deadline. Sometimes goals will take much longer than you expect. But you must have a target time before you set off.

It is like making a reservation at a restaurant. You may be five minutes early or five minutes late, but you always have a specific time for which your dinner is reserved.

Step Four

The fourth step is for you to make a list of everything you could possibly think of that you will have to do to achieve your goal. The more comprehensive your list, the more motivated you will become, the more intense will be your desire and the more you will believe it possible.

One of the things that hold people back is even if they get to the point of a written goal; they do not take the time to lay out a list of all the little things they will have to do to get there. And with additional experience, you will add new items to your list until it finally becomes complete.

Step Five

The fifth step of goal setting is for you to take your list and organize it into a plan. A plan is really quite simple. It is a list organized by priority and importance. You decide what you will do first and what you will do later. You decide what is more important and what is less important. And most of all, you decide upon the one thing that is more important than anything else that you can do immediately to begin moving more rapidly towards your goal.

Step Six

Step number six is for you to “take action!” This is the big killer for most people. They are procrastinators. They have great ideas combined with great hopes and dreams. They may even get to the point of writing down their goals. But when it comes to taking action, they always have a reason or excuse to procrastinate to put it off until a later time. However, as the Bible says, “Faith without deeds is dead.”

It is when you launch toward your goal that you begin to feel the desire and power that goes along with goal setting. And once you have launched toward your goal, it is much easier for you to continue moving in that direction.

Step Seven

Step number seven is for you to do something every day to move you toward your major goal. Never let a day go by without you engaging in some action that helps you move another step in the direction of what you really, really want in life.

Remember, you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. And if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

The simple seven step act of deciding exactly what you want, writing it down, setting a deadline, making a list, organizing the list into a plan, taking action on the most important item on your list and then doing something every day towards your goal will change your life and your future in ways that you cannot even dream of today.


For more on Brian Tracy: visit

How I Work – Amy W. Schulman

Amy W. Schulman

*** NOTE FROM COACH O: We continue studying the principle that “success leaves tracks”, by looking at another successful person profiled in Fortune/’s Article, “How I Work”. I love taking an inside look at what successful people do and how they do it! Enjoy…
“How I Work” – Amy W. Schulman, Partner, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary

Executive summary: Be compulsively organized — and delegate. Many successful women have become successful because they’re just awfully good at being compulsive and organized and doers. But it’s hard to be successful and be a control freak, because if you cling to things, you’re going to be a bottleneck. Delegating to other peopleappropriately delegating — is very liberating. There isn’t anybody on my team I don’t trust 100 percent. Remember, I’ve been building this team for ten years.

I have two assistants now. I have an assistant from 7 in the morning till 4 in the afternoon, and then an assistant from 4 to midnight. I wake up somewhere between 5 and 6 A.M., and get to the office about 8, before the phone calls start. On the days that I’m not traveling — I travel probably 50 percent of my life — I try to get home by 7:30 P.M. I typically don’t sign off e-mail until midnight.

I get around 600 e-mails a day. I divide them into four categories, and I deal with them immediately, by and large. First are e-mails that I forward to someone else. Next are where somebody’s giving me information that I need to cascade to somebody else with instructions. Third are the ones that I can read later on an airplane. Fourth are those that require me to respond immediately.

I used to have two cell phones because coverage is erratic. I decided one service provider worked best here and the other there. At some point I decided that was insane.

I don’t leave my cell phone on. I’m often in meetings or with clients, and I don’t want people to assume that they can dial my cell phone and get me, unless it’s an emergency. You can’t leave it on if you’re in a meeting with the CEO or a witness. It’s really important to focus on the problem at hand. You get into a rhythm of a conversation, and you have to honor that rhythm. People get anxious when they feel they’re going to be interrupted. What a good lawyer brings to a problem, in addition to creative solutions, is a quality of attentiveness. You can’t listen with half an ear.

The BlackBerry was at first a significant intrusion on family life. But my family has gotten used to the fact that I’m more relaxed if I can take care of my e-mails. I don’t generally look at my e-mail during mealtimes, and I try not to look at it in movie theaters.

— Interviewed by Roger Parloff

Things To Think About:
  • What stood out to you from this interview? (Your “boldprint”…)
  • Did you see what she said about trust in her team? AMAZING! Do you feel that way about your team? Are you “building” your team?
  • After reading this, what things in your leadership mindset do you need to work on?

from more on “How I Work”, visit: