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When it comes to leadership there are two roads that must be traveled. Unfortunately, most leaders in life only ever travel one of the two. The road less traveled by leaders is the road inside of you. To be an effective leader for the long term you must travel on the inside before you can effectively travel on the outside, because the journey of growth and success is first an internal one. The first person you lead is YOU...and you can't lead effectively without self-discipline. 

There is a period of preparation that needs to take place in all leaders. The issues is...that most leaders want what they want now. Why did a 2 week journey take 40 years with the Israelites? The real reason was they weren't prepared for the Promised Land. The people simply weren't ready for God's blessings until 40 years after they began their trip. 

Plato once said, "The first and best victory is to conquer self." The people and leadership of Israel lacked self discipline. As soon as Moses went up the mountain to meet with God, the people turned their backs and built a golden calf. They lacked the self discipline to wait for God and Moses.

So many leaders fail to travel on the inside. They private life doesn't match up with their public life. On the outside they look good and appear like they got their stuff together, while internally they struggle with self discipline. Let's take pastors for example... 

40% of pastors leave the ministry after only five years. 
89% of pastors have considered leaving their ministry at least once. 
90% of pastors have stated they are regularly fatigued.
57% of pastors would leave their current ministry if they felt like they had a better place to go. 
77% of pastors feel like they DO NOT have a good marriage.
72% of pastors only study the bible when they are preparing for a sermon. 
71% of pastors are in constant state of depression
38% of pastors are divorced.
30% of pastors maintain an ongoing affair. 
Only 26% of pastors spend time daily in devotion. 
Only 23% of pastors feel content with who they are in Christ. 
1500 pastors leave the ministry each month. 
50% of pastors marriages will end in divorce. 
80% of seminary students who graduate leave the ministry within 5 years.
63% of pastors have been fired from the pastorate position at least twice. 
78% of pastors have been forced to resign from the pastorate at least once. 
35% of pastors deal with sexual sin on a regular basis. 
51% of pastors struggle with porn addiction. 
(Study conducted by the Barna Research Group) 

The point is this...when you look at a pastor their position as a leader is very public. On the surface most people who look at their pastor as being the example of having their life together.  On the outside most pastors lead very well...but it's the leading of themselves internally where they fail. Like most leaders in life, the majority of their time is spent on the outside appearances and not the inside change. 

Here a Five Points To Self-Discipline. 

1. Develop and follow your PRIORITIES. All leaders are pressed for time, but the successful ones have a plan. If you can determine what's really a priority and release yourself from everything else, it will be much easier to follow through on what's important. 

2. Develop a DISCIPLINED lifestyle goal. To be successful, self-discipline can't be a one-time event. It has to become a lifestyle. One of the best ways to nurture such a lifestyle is to develop systems and routines...especially in critical areas of your life crucial to your long-term growth and success. Reading the bible daily verse just in church on sunday, Praying daily, Spending time along with God daily, all of these should be top priority in your life.  You don't have to let the world's priorities be your priorities. 

3. Challenge your EXCUSES. Challenge and eliminate any tendency you have to make excuses. If you can name several reasons why you can't be self-disciplined, realize that they are really just barriers to your success. All of your barriers must be challenged by you if you want to go to the next level. 

4. Remove rewards until you FINISH the job. This world preaches in everything to reward yourself because you deserve it!  By you just being you...you deserve it! Rewarding yourself before the job is finished creates a false sense of security about the job. Do you stop a game in progress to reward the star player or do you wait until the game is finished and scores are in to see you actually won or not. If the game is lost was the reward deserved?  If you can't finish the job you don't deserve the reward. 

5. Stay focused on the RESULTS. Anytime you concentrate on the difficulty of the work instead of its results, you're likely to become discouraged. So many leaders burn out become because they become discouraged by the task. I know pastors who have become burned out, left the ministry because they were discouraged, blamed the congregation for their lack, and ultimately created a path of destruction, their churches closed down, and many of the people they had shepherded have not returned to church period.  Their burnout resulted because they became the focused on the difficulty of the work and not the blessings of the results. This doesn't just happen to pastors, it happens to parents also. They literally give up on parenting their child, and then wonder why their child turned out the way they did. 

The road less traveled is a difficult one, but if your desire to lead well and build a legacy it is a road you must travel no matter what.