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Pizza Kills Uncommon Discipline

By Joey Havens

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Recently, after hosting our partner retreat, I was exhausted after our six hour drive back home. We also had my grandson, Davis, and a friend of his with us all week so when I wasn’t leading our retreat, I was trying to keep up with two 10-year-olds who could exhaust the energizer bunny. 

After we unloaded everything and got the kids to their parents, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s please not make another decision and I certainly don’t have the energy to cook anything.” It was at this moment when I lost all of my uncommon discipline and became very average!  We both said, “Yes, let’s order pizza!” One of my favorites and since I am on a big push to get under 200 pounds, it is a treat I have not enjoyed in months. It was funny how quickly my discipline disappeared.

My team hears me refer to uncommon discipline frequently. The reason I call it “uncommon” is because it is that discipline that separates good from great, average from outstanding, status quo from growth. The reason it is uncommon is the same reason most people struggle to be outstanding.  We do not use discipline to, as John Maxwell says, hold ourselves accountable.  In one of his recent presentations I attended, he stated people have uphill goals & dreams and downhill habits. That would be the lack of discipline. 

Continuing my story, here’s how I chunked the discipline for the large pizza. My first plan was to order something easy and make sure it’s something reasonably healthy. After that fleeting second, my mind went for a pizza. I have been working like crazy and I DESERVE it. Do you have those “I deserve it” moments? I think they are pretty common. So my wife said we can split a pizza, which I immediately say, “no, I want a supreme and you will be ordering a gluten free crust which is not my favorite.” (Confession: I love a pizza crust.)  I can just order a small―that’s not so bad. However, quickly I moved on downhill as I decided I could just order a medium supreme and ask for extra thin crust to save a few calories. I also threw in an afterthought that hey, I’m not going eat all of it. Maybe.

As we got on the phone with the pizza company, the lady said their special today is a large for only $10. Being very disciplined, I quickly replied no, but then I thought, nevermind, just order a large for $10, it’s crazy to pay more for a medium, right?  

When I got my hands on that piping hot extra crispy thin crust supreme pizza, I ate the entire first piece in record time, then the second.  It was at this point, that I reflected again and said, maybe I will eat a few more. By the next commercial break, I had one piece left. Heck, it’s only one piece, no sense in letting it go to waste, gulp. I ate the entire large pizza!  (Well, there was a piece of purple onion the size of a quarter left in the box.)  Oh my, was that pizza good!  Immediately I began feeling guilty as I knew that I had not only lost some of my discipline—I lost all of it.  There was nothing uncommon about my discipline.   

For me it always starts with “I deserve it,” or “I’m just going to do a little bit of it.” It works the same in my professional development or career goals.  I will make a commitment on a timeline and then I will miss making progress one week because I use the excuse of being tired, deserving a break or a once in a life time opportunity pops up in front of me.  Funny how often that happens once I make a commitment. I can feel it slipping away from me and too often it results in me achieving far less than my full potential.  It does take uncommon discipline to reach our full potential. Achievement takes sacrifice. [Tweet this

The challenge is to reflect, learn and build my resiliency to be disciplined rather than throwing my hands up and settling for downhill results. Never settle for less than our full potential. Stretch forward with uncommon discipline. [Tweet this

The rest of my pizza story—the next morning I added a full 2 miles to my run to help make up for my lack of discipline the night before. As I ended my run, I ran into one of my partners and his wife out walking on the trail.  As I stopped to visit, they shared with me how when they got home last night from the partner retreat, they just crashed. They did not feel like doing anything so they ordered pizza and of course—ate all of it. They were out for a “pizza” walk telling themselves they were getting back on their healthy eating routine.  It certainly wasn’t uncommon, and I laughed the rest of the way to the house. 

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