Roz McLean is passionate about the stewardship of long-term institutional capital and spends much of her free time raising funds for charitable Canadian organizations. And running.
I have always found discipline really hard. Do I have ambition, drive, and curiosity? Yes. But ambition without discipline is chaos.
The pursuit of a more disciplined life has underpinned a lot of my thinking over the past decade. For someone like me who thrives on short feedback loops, working towards long-term goals that bring meaningful fulfillment in life could be frustrating. I would still work towards these goals, of course, but every success I had was quickly replaced with an insecurity, with the question of, “do I have the discipline to sustain this?” I literally felt uncomfortable when people were proud of me – because I thought my lack of discipline would inevitably disappoint them in the end.
Fortunately for me, discipline can be practiced; and while long-term goals still take time, confidence in your capacity for discipline can be improved much more quickly. My trick – my privilege and my pleasure became running. Running is measurable and honest. Your pace tells you how much effort you put in, and your distance shows endurance. Your muscle soreness is a relentless reminder of the work you have done and of the strength you are building. I started off by running a little, and then I ran a lot, but the most important thing was that I followed through on the runs I committed to. It was so empowering to deliver on promises I had made to myself. The promises I made were simple but not easy: just put one foot in front of the other, just keep running, just keep going.
The knowledge that I could do it meant that I could figuratively put one foot in front of the other for a lot of other projects. I began to have confidence in myself. I started to get comfortable with other people having confidence in me; and I began to respect my own capacity and threshold for effort, endurance, and also for rest.
With gratitude for my body and the health that propels me to each next intersection.