Discipline vs. Drive

I believe there’s something that we can all learn from elite athletes. The greatest athletes I know have an incredible combination of drive and discipline. This combination is what sets them apart from the rest of the pack.

Because all physical exercise does damage to the muscles every elite-level athlete must maintain a balance of pushing themselves without pushing too hard.  The act of physical exercise does damage to the muscles. It is only during the rest cycle that the human body goes into repair mode and not only fixes the damage done by exercise but, in most cases, makes the muscle stronger as a result of the exercise.

I was reminded of the amazing creation of the human body in my recent podcast interview with Angela Fuller. This once amazing cheerleader and gymnast’s life was significantly changed as a result of back injuries from a severe car crash. Angela further exasperated these back injuries during her second pregnancy. All of the medical experts believed that she would never have the strength or flexibility that she once had as a collegiate athlete.

It takes both

Angela described the drive and discipline that it took for her to make a remarkable recovery from her spinal injuries.  Not only did she recover from these injuries but she eventually accomplished her athletic dreams of tumbling and doing stunts again as a cheerleader and gymnast.  Angela’s drive enabled her to experience her ultimate dream of competing on national television during season 15 of American Ninja Warrior.

Angela had the drive to overcome the medical challenges that she faced as a result of this car crash. She also had the discipline to get back in the gym and do the hard work of losing more than 50 lbs of body weight resulting from this injury. It doesn’t matter what challenges you’re facing it requires both drive and discipline to get through difficulties in life.

Drive can only take you so far

Drive is the internal motivation that gets you out of bed on mornings when you just don’t feel like working out. Drive is that internal force that causes you to face challenges at work or difficulties in your personal life despite the desire to walk away and throw your hands up in defeat.  Drive causes you to do the right things.

Drive is the internal motivation that compels you to pursue difficult goals in life which most people would never entertain. There’s no way to accomplish great feats in life without a strong sense of internal drive. However, it can only take you so far in overcoming obstacles and accomplishing challenging goals. Drive is a powerful motivating force that can help you become a serious athlete, but it can’t perfect a bad swing, or cause you to plant your feet perfectly after a jump.  It takes more than drive to accomplish the greatest feats in life.

Discipline carries you the rest of the way

Discipline must pick up and carry you the rest of the way to your goals after you have exhausted the benefits of drive. This causes you to relentlessly focus on how your feet hit the mat after a tumble in gymnastics. Discipline causes you to swing the bat thousands of times to hit the high fastball when everyone has already showered and left the batting cage.

Discipline causes you to do the right things… the right way! This is where the real magic happens when the human body is pushed to its limits. This is also where real tangible growth begins in relationships or organizations. It’s not just a matter of doing the right things but doing the right things the right way that causes breakout success in almost all human endeavors.

Approach your challenges with the drive to get up and do the hard things even on the days when you don’t feel like it. However, put equal intensity into the internal discipline of ensuring that you are doing the right things the right way when everyone else in your industry is cutting corners.

Listen to my whole interview with Angela HERE

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