I know this happens to you at times. You hear something, and then you hear it multiple times and all of a sudden, you recognize that you need to sit up and pay attention! That happened to me recently. It started with a simple reminder: consistency is foundational to our effectiveness. But it didn’t end there – I heard it multiple times in a matter of a couple of days. I knew it was time that we revisited the topic of consistency together. And it wasn’t just consistency. It was connected to the difficulty of things worthwhile.
Consistency: Critical Trait For Great Leaders
Here’s my fear and I know it’s a bit irrational. My fear is that once I dedicate an episode or two to a specific topic, I fear that you might tire of hearing it again. Truly, I’ve got a special place in my heart for consistency. I know how important this trait is in great leaders.
I dedicated a couple of episodes to it: LTL 052: Why Consistency Is King and LTL 087: The 180-Degree Leader And The Power Of Consistency were released in 2018. Both more than a year ago.
But you heard me say recently that a message has to be repeated as many as nine times for it to take hold and make a difference. And I heard this point about consistency no less than four times 48 hours along with another critical point: John Maxwell recently said on his podcast that everything worthwhile is uphill. There are no shortcuts or easy paths to things we currently, or eventually will come to, cherish.
So, because this topic is super important, I’m going to spend a few minutes unloading a massive amount of value in a short period of time.
Don’t worry – all of this is in the show notes and you’ll be able to check it out on markslemons.com. Don’t try to write it down. Today, I want you to think about the words I’m saying. And then I want you to think about what it means to put them into practice in your life. I want you to visualize implementing what you are hearing/learning. Some of this is not new, but all of it will change your life if implemented.
Make Sure You Are Repeating Right Actions
First, what do you think of when I say consistency? You can be consistently bad at something and it will likely wreck your results. To clarify, doing the same thing over and over doesn’t produce great results when it’s the wrong thing over and over. Aristotle said, “…virtues are formed in man by his doing the right actions.” Our success is based on establishing a regular routine of practicing our habits…specifically, the good habits.
Eric Holtzclaw wrote an article for Inc. back in 2012 where he formed five rules around consistency. His first rule? Measure the results. Is what you’re doing consistently moving the needle?
Don’t judge it too early or too late. He recommends waiting for at least six months to evaluate the effectiveness of your habit. Sometimes it’s a matter of making simple changes versus a complex overhaul.
Maybe what you are doing only requires a slight modification. Consistency rewards patience, so don’t be too hasty with your changes. Small changes can often bring big rewards.
Next, Eric advises that you be accountable. Often, it’s difficult to measure effective accountability. So an example here might be helpful. Brendon Burchard says that part of being accountable is having clarity. You establish clarity. The most successful leaders seek clarity for everything they do.
If you tell your team that you are going to run effective meetings, then be accountable to that goal. One way you can do this is to make sure that you bring clarity to every meeting you attend. Whether you initiated it or not! You make sure that everyone understands the purpose, the intention, the aim, the goal, and/or the desired outcome. If it doesn’t exist, then the meeting adjourns until you can define clarity.
Consistency With Clarity
Consistency in this regard will make it clearly obvious when clarity is absent. Everyone will see it. If you want accountability, then make everyone who sees it accountable to say it when they see it. Not just with you, but with each other.
Brendon says that this level of clarity is required not only in meetings but in every act of a leader’s day. The most successful leaders are those who have clarity for each moment. Are you demonstrating consistency in developing clarity? For everything you do? Every day?
Surprisingly, this was new to me. As a result, I realize I’m not nearly as intentional as I need to be with regard to my daily activity. Think about it. Do you have clarity about why you are doing what you are doing each moment? This is challenging for me.
Why Are You Listening Today?
That means you better know why you are listening to this podcast today. In your mind, have you already determined to extract value from the 10 or 15 minutes we spend together today? If not, this might just be noise and filler. Muda (the Japanese word for waste). Not because there isn’t value, but because you aren’t extracting it.
Obviously, this is true for every area of life. Brendon would tell you that clarity of purpose for everything you do is a key ingredient in producing the outcomes you desire. Remember, we are creating value from our consistency.
In an interview with Brendon, Brian Tracy shares a quote from Goethe, the famous German philosopher. Before I share that quote though, I want you to know that I have a link in the show notes for you if you want to watch that interview. You can also get Brendon’s new book called High-Performance Habits for just the cost of shipping and handling for a limited time. It also includes an audio version of the book which is pretty cool.
Everything Is Hard Before It Is Easy
Anyway, during the interview, Brian brings up the German philosopher’s infamous quote that “everything is hard before it’s easy.” If you want to make a positive change in your life, you can bet that if it’s worth doing, it will be difficult.
Just ask someone who had to work to lose 50 lbs. Or someone who stopped eating sugar, bread, or gluten. Have you spoken to someone who learned a new trade recently? How naturally did that come to them? The truth is, as Mr. Maxwell said at the beginning of this podcast, everything worthwhile is uphill. There is no coasting to achieve something meaningful.
I want to leave you with two final points today. First, Brendon notes that to make change last, you must raise necessity. He says that all of the most successful leaders regardless of industry, have the ability to understand the need to ramp up their energy.
Raising Necessity And Ramping Up Energy
They are able to assess why “I must succeed at this right now, in this very moment.” It goes without saying that they rise to the occasion. Each one understanding why it’s necessary that I win here.
A leader has an uncanny ability to raise the stakes for themselves. They make their performance matter! When it comes to motivation, a leader provides their own. So, can you see how important it is to do this with ongoing consistency?
Simply put, this ties nicely back to the idea of clarity. Because they have taken the time to understand the outcome they are targeting, they also know exactly what’s at stake. As the saying goes, failure is not an option.
For each person, the “why I must succeed at this” will be different. Your motivations will be different than mine. Neither is invalid or less meaningful.
What Is Your Why
Both are critical for you and me to feel that it’s not only good but necessary to win in this very moment. Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” And that’s a good thing…because anything worthwhile is uphill.
If you are going to spend the effort getting uphill, you better make sure your training partner is consistency.
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
Eric Holtzclaw’s Inc. post Power of Consistency: 5 Rules
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