Motivation Vs. Discipline

Celeste Kieft, a Human Resource Manager, sent out a message to the team at Bold Furniture. The message was profound and timely. It is a message we should all take to heart.

In today’s article, I am going to paraphrase her message and encourage you to think about motivation vs. discipline.

Celeste was reminding team members to wear safety glasses or side shields. This is for the team members’ protection and a big safety concern. Yet, the team members did not see it this way.

The response Celeste heard was: “There are too many other issues to worry about something as small as side shields.”

Ouch! Can you believe that response?

While true, there are a lot of things happening in our facilities including merging two buildings, relaunching a second shift, and more, this is not the response to give someone. The response shows there’s a lack of motivation. More so, it shows a lack of discipline.

I really liked Celeste’s response. She responded with an email stating:

Motivation Vs. Discipline

We need to face the reality that there will always be issues, there will always be things going on. We need to face the reality that we won’t always feel like doing the right thing like wearing PPE, cleaning up your work area, doing quality checks. It doesn’t matter what we feel like. We have to do it anyway. That’s the difference between motivation and discipline. Discipline is doing the right thing even when it’s hard, even when we don’t feel like it, even when there are things going on, even when someone else isn’t doing it.

Our lives won’t become better by doing the same things, by making excuses, by pointing fingers, by waiting until we feel like it. Our lives will become better only when we decide that we’re going to make them better DESPITE all the obstacles.

There’s a large gap between motivation and discipline. Motivation is a desire to do something. There’s typically a good reason behind taking action. When we’re motivated, it is much easier to do the things we don’t want to do.

Discipline, on the other hand, doesn’t require motivation. Discipline is, as Celeste said, doing the right things even when the right thing is hard and we don’t feel like it.

We’re always going to have a lot going on in our organizations. These things are going to want to pull you away from doing what needs to be done.

You’re going to have to become disciplined in doing the right things at the right time. You cannot avoid the things you don’t like (you can delegate them!) as they need to be done, whether it is for a company goal or your safety.

Let’s stop looking at ways to become more motivated. Instead, look for ways to become more disciplined.

3 Simple Ways To Become More Disciplined

1. Create rules for yourself:

Craig Ballantyne on Early To Rise wrote about becoming more disciplined. In one example, he shares his love for vegans. It’s not because they chose to stop eating meat, because he LOVES a great steak. He sees that they have made a personal rule and they are sticking to it.

You can create personal rules for yourself. To do this, figure out what you want to become more disciplined at. Create rules that help you stay within those boundaries. Follow the rules and you will become disciplined in those areas.

2. Remove barriers:

Many times we don’t do the things we should because we have barriers in the way. In the case of the side shields for glasses, the barrier is the team member has to put the side shields on. They can remove this barrier.

When they arrive at work, they can attach the side shields to their glasses. Throughout the day, they can leave the side shields attached. This is a barrier removed!

How can you remove a barrier to an action you want to become more disciplined in? Figure it out and remove the barrier.

3. Reward yourself:

I think of how disciplined my Vizsla is. He can stare at a treat for an extended period of time and leave it if I tell him to. He’s disciplined to listen to Pamela and I.

How did he become disciplined? We learned to reward him when we did what we asked.

Did he want the treat? He was told to leave it for a minute. Then we told him “Yes, okay.” He could have the treat when he didn’t lunge for it. This is how we taught him other tricks as well. We got him to do the trick, then he got the reward.

We’re not that much different than a dog in this area. We can become disciplined when we reward ourselves for doing what needs to be done.

Every time you do the hard thing, reward yourself. Give yourself time to walk around the block, eat a piece of dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s, or some other reward.

Find what works for you. Before you know it, you will become disciplined in the areas you struggled.

Are you motivated or are you disciplined?

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