My first daughter taught me to be consistent. She was two and I was 30. She was much more determined than me to do the thing she wanted to do. It’s called being strong willed. Two-year olds are renowned for their tantrums and saying ‘no’ as they go through the individuating phase. They are testing the boundaries of their world. It is the time when parents must learn consistency, or they will lose an important battle. Once lost it is difficult to ever have control of your house again. I was a bit embarrassed to acknowledge how inconsistent I was. I realised I varied from day to day in my routine, in what I allowed, and what I saw as being good for my daughter. However, I was determined not to lose this battle. My consistency at parenting, once learned, has produced a very secure strong-willed daughter, now a woman, who makes the most of every day and is building a great life for herself and her family. I have noticed that when parents are inconsistent and allow their children to have whatever they want, it often produces insecure weak children who cannot cope if they do not get their own way.
But consistency is not just about parenting. It is also vital to almost everything, including your business success.
Consistency starts with your attitude
In this age where feeling good has become more important than almost anything, it can be challenging to turn up every day and work hard to get a business off the ground. Turning up consistently involves a lot more than being physically present every day. Consistency means turning up to bring energy and focus to the people with whom you work. It means you will have done work on yourself, to manage your mood and your mindset. It means you are absolutely committed to work hard at those things you know are important to make your business grow.
What I observe is that many business owners are very consistent at responding to things that come up around them each day as they answer their emails and phone calls and solve employee issues. This means other people tend to set their agenda and often their mood. By lunch time you wonder what happened to your morning. For these people the best time of the day to get work done is after business hours. Trouble is that encroaches on family and personal time.
Five keys to building consistency
- Knowing what you want helps consistency – In business knowing what you want to happen over the next year (and 3 – 5 years) is vital. Clear vision, simply communicated, helps you to turn up each day with focus and energy. It also helps your team to understand what is important and not just respond to the urgent. Knowing what you want, enables you to say ‘no’ peacefully as well.
- Planning helps consistency – taking the time to set annual goals, and then creating a plan every 90 day to help you achieve those goals is the best way to build consistency into your business. This establishes a good rhythm that enables you to increase productivity and income by more than 20% in a year. To learn more about my half-day 90-day planning workshop click here.
- A good daily routine helps consistency – Without a powerful daily routine all the planning in the world will not help you. You will have the plans but be unable to implement them. Successful people learn daily disciplines that enable them to make time each day to do the important things that take them towards their goals. Everyone has the same amount of time each day. Successful people do the work on themselves that enables them to know and do the most important things each day.
- Systems help consistency – Anything that you do more than once has a system or process to it. It will save you time in the long run if you can take the time to learn how to record that process, in simple written steps or a screen shot video. This makes it possible to easily outsource many of the repetitive things you do each day to other people. One of the reasons people hit the limits of their capacity is that they are doing too many small unimportant things that could be outsourced. These days that could be a team member, or even a virtual assistant sitting in an office in the Philippines.
- An experienced mentor helps with consistency – one of the most important functions of a business mentor is to help a business owner to regain or maintain perspective during the busyness and pressure of their day to day lives. A mentor will help you with the first four keys outlined above. They will then be an experienced set of eyes on you and your business who can help you stay on track.
The equation for business success
A lack of consistency is one of the reasons so many businesses meander and do not achieve their potential. So many business owners become frustrated and give up or change their priorities too often because they feel they are not achieving results.
The equation for business success is something like this: Good plans + consistent daily action + review + slightly adjusted plans + consistent daily action + repeat over time = Increasingly good results.
To achieve business success every business owner must learn the lesson of consistency that I learned from my 2-year old daughter.