Every week this month, I’m sharing phrases—’words to live by’—that have shaped my life and decisions. I’ve picked up some from my own insights, and many others from gurus, books, classes, etc.

If you’d like to check out my previous phrases from the month, you can read my blog posts about them here or here.

This week’s quote comes from a conference I attended back in 2011. The speaker was Graham Cooke, a prophetic teacher, and this three-word phrase has since served as a compass for many of my decisions, including the choice to start my business.

Here’s what Graham said:

“Desire produces discipline.

I remember taking notes during the message and the simplicity of this wisdom smacking me between the eyes.

Hold up! You mean to tell me that desire is the birthplace of true discipline?

Up ’til then, I’d been getting it (mostly) back-to-front. I’d been trying to discipline myself into great habits and personal growth based on the fact that these things were beneficial for my life.

I’d often let the principles of healthy living be the driving force behind my personal development: “It’s good for me, so I’ll do it.”

And honestly, it wasn’t all bad. I DID grow. And indirectly, my desire had been a factor in my growth (because I was hungry to live a thriving life.)

But I’d rarely let desire stand front and center. It was usually in the background, not the foreground.

This message gave me permission (that I didn’t even know I’d been waiting for) to allow desire to become a driving force in my quest for growth.

Here’s an example of where you can see the desire-discipline connection demonstrated:

If I’m an Olympic athlete dreaming of a gold medal, my desire for victory helps me get up at 4am every morning to work out. The goal of being the best in the world pulls me out of bed and gets my butt to the gym. I’m willing to be inconvenienced, to embrace the discipline of grueling training in the short term, in order to reach my goal.

This truth can be applied across the board to any dream in your heart.

Take a moment to consider these two scenarios:

  1. Are there areas of your life where you’ve tried to be disciplined simply because you knew it was ‘good for you’? What, if anything, would change if you allowed your desire to be the driving force, and not just the ‘it’s good for me so I ought to do this’ principles?
  2. What desires keep tugging on your heart? Pause long enough to really listen to them. Then, ask yourself if you’re willing to let those desires lead you to action.

In both instances, acknowledging the truth is an important key. You might find that, apart from the “I should do this” driving you, you might not actually want the things you’re forcing yourself to do. Or, you might discover that you really DO want it, or you want it for another reason than you initially thought you did.

This isn’t about getting the ‘right’ answer; it’s about finding the truthful one.

When you land on the truth, that’s when you’ll find yourself truly empowered to move forward.

We’re so often trained to let external forces drive us.

Transitioning to the place of letting desire have a voice in our life is to choose to step away from simply doing what we’re told and into being led from the inside out.

Here’s to your desire speaking up, loud and clear,