Every few weeks, to celebrate my control over blood sugar in my victory over diabetes, I treat myself to a carb meal, like I did this morning at breakfast with a short stack of pancakes at Hob Nob here in Niles, MI. It's my little way of punctuating my little victories and staying motivated to remain disciplined, to make the smart daily food and activity choices that result in long-term control of blood glucose levels. That daily discipline is how people with diabetes win.

The trick is balance. I don't celebrate too much, so that I'm loading up my body on carbs too frequently. If I did that, I'd overwhelm my body with glucose and raise my A1C on the quarterly labs that my doctor orders, so it would be pretty obvious to him (and me) that that "treat" threw a wrench in my normally disciplined routine. In fact, I use that quarterly report to gauge my positive confirmation that I'm on the right track to signal to my conscious mind that I'm ready for a celebratory treat: that's how I know I can eat a carb meal.

"So, wait, Dom: You're telling us you only eat a carb meal once every three months?!" No, that's not what I'm saying, but I do get my feedback through this data every three months and it's by this report that I make an informed decision to make tiny modifications to my lifestyle. By relying on data, I avoid impulsive choices based on my "gut" that could get me in trouble. And, because impulsivity is the opposite of discipline, it's those informed choices that help keep me on the plan that's at the heart of the strategy I've worked out with the help of my physicians to keep me in optimal health.

When I celebrate the little victories of that A1C report, it's because I'm seeing evidence of my discipline paying off. I'm seeing that the daily sacrifices are really worth it; that denying my occasional cravings and pushing myself to exercise even when I don't feel like it have a payoff that happens beyond the immediate time horizon. It's this kind of mental conditioning that changes my outlook and frames my understanding of other issues in my life, relationships, ministry, and business; and it's something I hope you can apply in yours, too. Don't miss the leadership lesson here: you can help your team if you look for and recognize small victories, not just their major wins. Every contribution means progress toward your goals, and you can boost their morale by investing yourself in theirs. It's not enough for you to say you're in their corner; give them a visible "attaboy" in front of their peers when their work warrants it; they (and their co-workers) will sneer at a phony back-slapping boss who is just faking appreciation, so make it count for when they really shine.

Photo: Bruce Mars (pexels.com)

Dom De Bellis is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker, coach, and minister of the Gospel. When he's not serving his church or Boy Scout Troop, he is helping people in cities grow organic food.

#discipline #datadriven #strategy

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