A recent quote on my Instagram feed said: Dave Ramsey Quote: "Work is doing it. Discipline is doing it every day. Diligence is doing it well every day."

I received the quote following a dinner with a candidate and friend who was retiring after fifteen years with the company we placed her at. We reminisced about the changes in the company over the years and the changes in the construction industry in general. The standout of the conversation was her everyday discipline with her job and diligence to do it well while staying relevant to the times. And despite others’ behavior, financial conditions, or other uncomfortable challenges, she hung in there and always sought solutions to help the company, the company’s principals, and her associates. I recalled the many times over the years she needed encouragement because she felt unappreciated, isolated, tired, unfulfilled, or another negative feeling—yet she showed up every day and chose to remain diligent with her responsibilities. In addition, she often took on others’ responsibilities when a helping hand or courage was needed. The time to retire was now; she was at total peace with transitioning to her next chapter in life. And her discipline and diligence paid off with a provision to choose to work or not within a structure that freed up time for sunrise walks during the week and weekday daylight time with her husband and family.

No matter what stage in your career—where you work now, who you work for, how long you’ve been there—you can choose to be disciplined and diligent. By choosing to do so, you will obtain for yourself a more secure future. Here are three ways to start:

  1. Despite what you are earning at the moment, work within your agreed compensation package. Often an employee’s mindset is, If you paid me more, I would do a better job. Instead, develop a mindset of;  I will do a consistently consistent job so you will have no reason not to increase my wages in the future. If you remain diligent over time, and the business is thriving because of the team’s diligent efforts, including yours, the right employers will reward in some way—bonuses, time off, or a base salary increase—or you will have the references to open that door elsewhere.
  2. No matter how others around you behave, you have a choice in your behavior and response to them. Discipline and diligence include your attitude and ability to communicate. It will be difficult at times, as co-workers are like family members: Unless you do the hiring, you don’t choose them, and you can’t fire them. You can, however, set your time and boundaries with them. In doing so, they will either adjust accordingly or, eventually, the right time will present itself to address them directly without belittling the person themselves.
  3. Disciplined and diligent employees are often unfairly or unprofessionally challenged. Some people want what you have but don’t necessarily want to do what you did to get it. Part of staying diligent and disciplined is having a good support system in place to help you through the good times and challenging times. Encouraging reads, encouraging friends, quiet time, and sunshine all help you hear the voice of reason over the voice of defeat.

My friend and candidate grew with the company in her role and responsibility and financially over the years. Many would ask why she stuck it out, but those closest to her knew: It wasn’t trust in herself or trust in her employer; it was trust in knowing the universal truth that diligence and discipline are always rewarded in time. Those who are faithful with what they have today will be offered the opportunity for more. You may not stay where you are for fifteen years, but if you stay disciplined and diligent while you are there, the next chapter in your life will be open without blemish from the previous one. Will you choose discipline and diligence? It won’t be easy, but then again, if it was, would you stand out?

To the disciplined, diligent you,

Suzanne Breistol