The Power of Discipline

Stress-less-speaker-Colette-CarlsonMalcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, popularized the notion of the 10,000-hour rule: Those who dedicate that much time to their craft rise to the top. 

I recalled that maxim while sharing the platform with long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad in New York last week. At 63 years of age, she is still in training to make her fifth attempt at swimming from Cuba to Florida. A life-long athlete, her power of self-discipline is astounding. One small indicator: Since her early teens, she’s committed to doing 1,000 sit-ups every day. And not once did she ever do 999. I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to watch TV and said, I’m going to do 10 push-ups and 30 crunches, only to hear myself crunching on potato chips instead.

Don’t get me wrong – there are areas of my life where I am disciplined. As someone who used to be 50 lbs. heavier, I know that even one consistent habit practiced over the course of a week, a month, a year, compounds to outrageous results. As someone who used to doubt her strengths and skills every day, I know that changing just one thought, one belief compounds to taking more healthy risks.

Yes, I’m a motivational speaker, but I’ll never ask you to do anything I’m unwilling to. What am I saying? I’ll never suggest you do 1,000 sit-ups daily. But consider, what is one small behavior that will move you closer to your truth that you can begin to do consistently? Inspire the rest of us by sharing below your commitment or one of your past successes.


Step into the Truth Booth, improve your life, and laugh along the way with funny motivational speaker Colette Carlson. How did she go from emotional coward and the Pizza Delivery’s favorite customer to #1 sales producer for sales legend Tom Hopkins and Brian Tracy, featured in Success Magazine, a 50 lb. weight loss, and inspiring audiences at Microsoft, Accenture, Pepsi, Boeing, and organizations worldwide? Visit her at or call 760-230-1212.

Colette founded Speak Your Truth, Inc. to share her success systems and inspire others to Think It! Speak It! Live It! Her tools and takeaways create authentic, long-lasting change in every aspect of your life. With a MA in human behavior, a successful business and 2 teenage daughters, Colette provides a unique combination of education, research, real-life experience, and heartfelt humor to motivate you with her high content programs. Improve your Communication Skills, Work-Life Balance, Sales, Leadership, Assertiveness, Negotiation…all wrapped in the genuine power of Speaking Your Truth.

Did you enjoy this post? Just jot down your email and we'll keep you up-to-date with all of our motivation and entertainment.

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Colette! And here's my share:

    As a motivational speaker, I can't presume to suggest that people do what I am not willing to do as well.  And since this is YOUR area of expertise, I'm sure you will not only relate, but I personally know that you are really good at it.

    I consistently speak up when I see a conversation or interaction is going or has gone south. I don't always recognize it instantly, but when I do recognize, I say something. This was a habit I had to develop. I was not wired to do it automatically. I try to do it with as much objectivity, respect and clarity as possible – which is continually the hard part for me when I'm part of the communication failure.  But I can confidently say that because I am developing this as a new habit for me, the almost always positive results continue to impress me.

    I LOVE that you are asking this question! It will help people acknowledge what they have accomplished (in a world where it's not only easy to focus on all the things you are doing wrong – but if you don't – others will point them out for you!) 

  2. Beautiful share, Linda. And as someone who has been present when you've spoken up, you truly have a gift of communicating your truth.

  3. I can speak to the 10,000 hour rule when it comes to  my business – more specifically, the art of what I do. Like many motivational speakers, I am fully aware that my product is my performance on stage. THAT is what I am selling. And I have made it part of my DNA to be the absolute best that I can be in the development of my product. And so I have developed a laser focus on this area – where I am constantly creating, writing, practicing, rewriting, creating again. Hours and hours. Focusing on every word, every turn of each phrase – like notes in a piece of  music. And it most certainly pays off. The 10,000 hour people will always get every one of those hours back in success.

    What is tough is that there are other areas of my life and business that also need attention. And I simply can not give every area the same laser focus. And so some things have to give. Like housework. Or getting to the gym every day. Or even getting a real tree versus the artificial kind.  It is a constant battle to keep my life in balance and pay attention to all the things that matter most – and give them the attention they deserve too. I think that sometimes we can be guilty of trying to put 10,000 hours into too many things. And it's just impossible. And so I try to work towards what I can, and give the other areas the attention they deserve.

    Great post! Going to share it right now!

  4. Wow, I can't even imagine 1000 sit-ups in a day!  Discipline has not been my strong point, but since you asked, I haven not given up on myself, even when I feel like I've failed.  You know, it's like you go off a diet and then feel like one bad choice means to throw in the towel completely.  I have now decided to give myself a break and know that one bad choice doesn't mean a lifetime of bad choices are around the corner.  I too have let go of 50 + pounds but making more and more positive choices than negative ones.  It's not always easy, but the rewards are priceless.  Besides, walking on stage as a motivational speaker is so much more fun now for me because of the positive choices I have made and hopefully will continue to make.

    • Marilyn, your new-found discipline is apparent every time you step on the platform. Bravo for getting out of the all or nothing round and giving yourself permission to slip and then step up again. I can take a page from your book right now – especially with Turkey Day around the corner. To positive choices!

  5. Colette, what a wonderful post! Thanks for giving me the gentle nudge I needed to remind me about the importance of discipline.  You can add me to the list of other awesome motivational speakers who have lost 50+ pounds who share positive juju with the world!  (Woo Hoo!  Shout-out, my shrinking sisters!)  For me, I have realized that without my daily dose of mojo that is found during my MBS (Mind-Body-Spirit) Time, I might as well consider myself operating at 50% at best.  In my world, MBS is the difference between living a Haagen-Daaz sort of life, or living the icky-gallon-tub-of-three-freezer-burned-flavors-kind-of-ice-cream life.

    When I take the time (and give myself permission) to spend time on the yoga mat, on the zafu, or in my hoop, everything else in my world opens up correspondingly.  The more centered I am, the more focused I am when I am writing that next article.  The better my body feels, the easier it is to handle the grinds of the road.  The more joyful I am (as experienced in my beloved hula hoop), the more opportunities just seem to come to me.  This is not synchronicity.  These are not accidents.  This is the result of dedication and commitment to the importance of our whole Selves.

    And now, instead of writing yet another outbound email or making another phone call, I am going to shut this glowing contraption off, slip off my shoes, and step onto my purple mat of transformation.  Thank you, and I look forward to reading more of your pearls of wisdom!

Speak Your Mind