As we embark on this journey together, I want to share a personal revelation that has profoundly shaped my approach to life and leadership. Each year, I select a guiding word, a beacon that illuminates my path forward. Last year, that word was “DISCIPLINE.” It’s a word that many might glance over, assuming its meaning is clear and its application straightforward. Yet, as I’ve come to realize, discipline is anything but simple in a world that often nudges us toward the path of least resistance, where comfort is king and the status quo goes unchallenged.

Reflecting on the extraordinary life of David Goggins, as narrated in his compelling book “You Can’t Hurt Me,” I was struck by the immense power of human potential. Goggins’ transformation from a young man burdened by poverty and personal challenges to an emblem of the ultimate discipline across the most demanding military training– the only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army ranger, and Air Force tactical air controller. His journey underscores a universal truth: we are all capable of achieving greatness beyond our current understanding. Goggins introduced me to the “40% Rule,” a principle asserting that at the point of wanting to give up, we’ve only tapped into a mere 40% of our potential. It’s a concept that has both challenged and inspired me.

In my reflections, I’ve come to recognize that discipline is the vehicle that propels us towards our dreams and aspirations. Yet, all too often, we find ourselves veering off course, seduced by the siren song of excuses. “I’ll start after the New Year,” “I’ll begin when things settle down,” “I’ll pursue my dreams when I have more resources”—these are but a few of the common refrains that keep us from our path. It’s a cycle I’ve had to confront and break, one excuse at a time.

So, how do we fortify our discipline muscle? Let me share a few insights that have guided me:

As we move forward, let’s embrace the discipline required to transcend our current limitations. Let this be a year where we not only dream but also act, where we not only plan but also execute. Together, let’s step into our greatness, equipped with discipline as our most trusted ally.

Here’s to our collective journey toward excellence and the unwavering commitment to realize our full potential!


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About the Author

Steve Gutzler is the President of Leadership Quest, a Seattle-based leadership development company. Steve is a dynamic, highly-sought-after speaker who has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to a list of clients including Microsoft, Starbucks, the Seattle Seahawks, Pandora Radio, Boeing, Cisco, Starwood Corporation, the Ritz Carlton group, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. He recently was voted #1 by the readership of Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational Leader on Social Media.

A published author on leadership and emotional intelligence, Steve resides near Seattle with his wife Julie where they enjoy time with their three adult children and six grandchildren.