Discipline and Balance


Posted by Coach Ben Dillon


There are many values that I am thankful for that my mother instilled in me at a young age. Discipline, I believe, is at the forefront. Our upbringing has a pretty considerable impact on our success and failures as adults. I can remember many times throughout my childhood that I was reprimanded for either doing something “wrong” or doing something “lazily” and not putting my full effort into it and cutting corners. What ever we choose to do, whether of low importance or of high value, give it 100%.  Life is hard, challenging, and ever-evolving as there are much more distractions today then ever. 

Just think about the people who had an impact on your life, for good or bad. Truly think about it. There are many people in our lives - parents, family members, friends, coaches, teachers, and co-workers - along the way who shape and mold us into being the very best that we can be, instilling work ethic, team-work, and sportsmanship, among other important qualities.  A good coach and mentor should be understanding, but firm; not compromising quality over quantity; realistic in their expectations; and patient.  They should expect the same thing out of others as they do themselves and not the proverbial, “Do as I say, Not as I do” adage.  There are no shortcuts to long-term success!  We all have our own definition of “success” and how we get there is a journey, not achieved overnight, but with discipline over many years, and with it the road bumps that hopefully make it all worthwhile.

The military has also had a great impact on me as a person. from my failure not making it through BUD/s to my progression at directing and growing a Navy Rescue Swimmer non-profit, SOML Racing. To all the people I’ve met who directly impacted me I am truly grateful!  My job trained me to perform potential rescues on those who found themselves in precarious situations. Whether an ejected or downed aircrew, stranded hikers, or medical situations, I always had to be prepared.  That meant hours of training from initial schooling, while at home guard, or deployed, never stopped.  We swam often to maintain our endurance and stamina, practiced putting a disentangled survivor in a litter, or practiced basic life-saving techniques on the wounded.  All this takes great discipline to maintain and to grow.  We can all find ourselves in a “comfortable” position of success and knowledge. Over our lifetime, we can evolve and grow into people we never could of imagined.

Discipline is the “key”.  There is no way around it or magic formula.  Getting up before everyone else, using your hour lunch break, or staying up and putting in the time to improve over those who do not, is the difference between an achiever and those who under-achiever.  Our success and failures, those experiences, and time contribute to our growing as people and multi-sport athletes.

Another important factor in our life is Balance. Discipline alone is not sufficient without Balance. Each day brings its own set of choices regarding how we spend our time. 

After multiple conversations with a good friend in Guam, Seth Hatke, about truly dedicating ourselves to peak performance, I made it my #1 goal to achieve the best possible results on the XTERRA circuit while I would be in Pensacola as an instructor for the next 3 years (Being in Guam for 4 years and being deployed 2.5 years during that time didn’t allow for consistent training nor peak performance or results).  Prior to leaving Guam I received some lessons from Pepe LaFlamme to improve my swim stroke and while participating in XTERRA New Zealand, met Lawrence Oldershaw, who would become my coach and mentor. However, I did this at a considerable cost, not only financially, but personally. My life lacked a healthy balance.  My family didn’t see me much, nor did I devote the quality time that my girlfriend and relationships needed or deserved.  

There is a cost to all that we do.  What are you giving up in your life to achieve work or athletic goals?  What is the right balance for you? I found out losing someone you care about isn’t worth podium finishes.  Finding the perfect balance is something few are able to truly master.


~ Coach Ben Dillon

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