I’m going to let you in on a secret. The way to succeed and get good at something is to be consistent at failing at it many times.
Read that again.
The keyword is not success or failure, it’s consistent. You don’t succeed at getting better because you consistently emphasize the definition of success itself or stress over how many times you fail. To get better at something, you need to become more consistent.
Developing a mindset that embraces failure as an opportunity to succeed means being clear on what that outcome looks like. Some accomplishments come without much effort or thought but still require intention.
If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going. Maya Angelou
You may not recall transitioning from a crawl to a walk, but you probably remember your first time on a bicycle. Mom and dad gave you the initial push so you could build momentum. Soon, you were coasting along without training wheels. Even after a few falls and scrapes, you still had enough courage to get up and keep going. When you were determined to take your first Tour de France around the block, you kept at it until successful. In no time, you were riding around town, and it all felt as natural as walking. But all that came with much practice and consistently having the outcome in mind.
That’s how consistency can impact your entire life.
Still, so many of us are incredibly inconsistent. We’re inconsistent with what we eat. We’re inconsistent with our sleep. We’re inconsistent with our desire to exercise. We’re inconsistent with our words and actions. We’re inconsistent in reading or writing in our journals. We can’t even get on time to places consistently. You might say that the only thing we are consistent at doing well is being inconsistent.
Does this sound familiar?
If you find yourself having good intentions, but you struggle to follow through, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
We all do it.
Because being inconsistent is easy but being consistent takes much practice.
Mind you, I don’t remember being inconsistent often in my life but the few times I was, the drawbacks were substantial. That’s why I have intentionally remained consistent on many fronts, and that didn’t come easy. For example, staying active with exercise used to be a critical part of my daily routine, but since working from home during the pandemic, not only have I become lazier, but it also shows in the extra weight I’ve put on. Getting back in shape and taking that weight off has been much more difficult because I haven’t maintained an active lifestyle.
When you become inconsistent more often, it gets harder to get consistent again. Starting a bad habit is easy–the perceived benefit is immediate but the negative results come later. On the other hand, a good habit is much harder to start, and the real benefits take more time but the payoff is worth the wait.
What does this mean?
You can get consistent at getting better at the more destructive habit.
How do you avoid this?
Get clear on what is bothering you. If you can’t put your finger on it, you won’t be able to do much to change it. For me, I could put a few fingers on the bulge around my waistline, so it was obvious I wanted to do something to change it and decided to reset my priority. I owned up to restarting the daily exercise routine and becoming more mindful of what I ate (and didn’t eat).
“The goal is not simply for you to cross the finish line, but to see how many people you can inspire to run with you.” Simon Sinek
I’m also holding myself accountable to my teenage boy who is himself exploring weightlifting. Although it’s not easy and the results will take months, I know it’s not impossible, and I’m rediscovering how an accountability partner can at once be entertaining and rewarding since I’m getting fit with the family.
It can feel like you’re the ball in the pinball machine when you behave inconsistently. To you, this might be frustrating and defeatist, to others, they see a lack of consistency and find a reason to distrust your ability to lead coherently.
By reflecting on why you do what you do, you can get in the habit of inquiring whether you find yourself often reacting when faced with a situation and ill-prepared or better equipped and able to effectively respond with a better decision.
Understanding your daily decisions sets the direction of your life and the quality of your decisions reflects on your success and builds accountability. The problem is that making good decisions requires patience and acceptance that falling or failing is a normal part of the process and getting agitated only leads to more frustration and a lack of hope.
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” Unknown
But when you’re patient and consistent enough to try again, again, and again, you build the right skillset and attitude to constantly get better, and you build resilience in both your mental and physical muscles.
Your goal is not perfection but getting better, so practise often to get better and to be more prepared to make better decisions. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, instead, proactively look to what you can improve and plan accordingly to avoid regrets and make sound decisions. When you’re faced with a less than optimal scenario, you’ll be better prepared to respond with intention rather than react impulsively.
Becoming a capable athlete who refuses to give up until they succeed means you might not know your next move but because you know the sport well enough, you can adapt to whatever comes your way and deliver a better performance. Whether you’re playing tennis or soccer, learning to consistently anticipate what your opponent might do helps you improve your skill so you can respond better and stay ahead.
The same thing in life.
With all the global uncertainty and unrest, and the continued divisiveness of the pandemic, you must be prepared to behave consistently according to a set of core values that determine your actions. As a leader, the best gift you can provide others during all this precariousness is clarity. You don’t have a crystal ball, but you can visualize and plan, remain nimble and flexible enough to recalibrate when necessary and be consistent enough so others can see you as a reliable and trustworthy leader. You don’t have to have all the answers, but you can consistently steer the course and choose to move onward in a positive direction.
Consistency also helps you embrace failure as an opportunity to get up and try again, as another step up the ladder towards success, and to build tenacity. You’ll also earn more trust for being consistent in your behaviour.
Bringing it all together
I talk often about the power of emotional intelligence because I believe that it can transform lives: I have transformed my life by developing my EQ.
The transformation starts with developing a clear mindset–gaining clarity around what you want to achieve and defining your understanding of yourself in the present moment. This is how you become more self-aware and can build confidence which allows you to shape your attitudes and beliefs about your abilities and strengths. Just like you learn to ride a bike without looking back to see mom and dad, you learn to keep your vision poised for the future to courageously confront any forks in the road ahead.
Confidence leads to courage and when you remain steadfast and consistent, you build momentum. The intentionality behind your transformation helps you form healthy habits and a lifestyle founded on an optimistic mindset that can help you weather unexpected changes.
Now you understand how consistency can become an incredibly powerful tool that impacts your life. It’s what successful people do repeatedly and what other people do seldom. So remember, if you’re consistent, you will make progress, and with patience, you’ll move in the direction of successfully achieving your goal.
Ask me how I can help you become more consistent
Becoming more consistent makes things easier and that’s what I do with emotional intelligence. I simplify EQ so you can build consistent habits and develop clarity in your life, take action to achieve your goals, and lead with humble confidence. Let’s talk about how my Leading with Clarity coaching program can help you do just that.