By Laura Thorne, MACNY Consulting Partner
There are a ton of quotes out there about consistency being
the key to success. But is it? I’ve consistently posted on Instagram once a week for years and haven’t reached what I would call success. You might consistently show up to work on time and not get promoted, receive a bonus, or even get as much as a pat on the back. You might consistently practice playing guitar and never become a pro.
What are we doing wrong?
No matter what the goal is, you fall short at some point. Imagine someone who is jogging every day to lose weight, but can’t seem to drop those last 10 lbs. The problem is that you have to do more than make a consistent effort to reach your goal.
A few other reasons you might not be achieving your goal include:
- The goal or indicator for success hasn’t been defined. You’ve likely achieved a lot, but have been vague about the end goal. This would be like wanting to learn a new language but not picking a qualifier to know when you’ve reached the goal. Do you want to be able to have a conversation while traveling or give a business presentation in Spanish? These would be two very different goals and possibly have different paths to achieve them.
- Your efforts might be consistently mediocre, which will only lead to mediocre results. Let’s consider our jogger again. Maybe their jogging pace is more like a fast walk that doesn’t get their heart rate up.
- You are focusing on the wrong action. You can jog every day, but if you want sculpted triceps, you’ve got to get the weights out.
As the visual above shows, consistency alone isn’t enough to reach lofty goals. However, when you apply the pressure of improvement, you get improved results. How long it takes to reach success or your goals then becomes a matter of time and how much improvement you apply.
Here are some general ways to make improvements for any goal:
- Improve the design or the plan
- Seek feedback
- Collect and respond to data
- Research comparisons
- Establish benchmarks
Take a minute to consider your goals. List them if you want. Are there any that you’ve had for a while or that you haven’t made much progress towards?
Do you have a measurable objective for each? Some goals don’t seem to have anything tangible to track, like landing a new job. You either have it or you don’t. However, there are performance indicators that can tell you if you are on-track. In the case of looking for a new job, performance indicators could be the number of applications you’ve submitted or the number of call backs you’ve received. Keep in mind, if you’re not improving your resume or your search tactics, your results will look like the figure on the left: all consistency and no improvement. This only leads to more of the same.
To really apply the pressure of continuous improvement and achieve your goals, figure out how you can make continuous improvement part of your process.
- Record lessons learned after events and projects
- If it’s a repeatable process or project, make quality production a competition
- As Darren Hardy, Success Mentor and former Publisher of Success Magazine, prescribed, vow to be better every day
What I like about this concept is that it means anyone can start from anywhere and reach their goals. As long as they are continuously improving, it’s only a matter of time before they achieve them. If we’re talking about an Austrian immigrant becoming President of the United States, we might have to wait for the 61st amendment to the constitution (shoutout to anyone who recognizes this movie reference). There may be cases where you’re shooting for the impossible. But, those cases aside, lay out your goals and just keep getting better! In this way, you can’t fail.
If you like this kind of motivational topics and would like to learn how to apply them to your professional life, check out Laura’s one-on-one coaching services or register for her upcoming workshop: 8 Actions You Can Start Right Now to Change Everything For The Better on May 3 from 9 – 11 AM .
Laura Thorne specializes in strategy and execution through workshops, coaching, and other services. Learn more about Laura’s consulting partnership with MACNY at www.laurathorneconsulting.com/MACNY and if you would like to suggest an article topic or make a comment, contact me at [email protected].