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Consistency

Oddly, the lack of choice, the sheer minimalism of at least showing up, and going through the motions is many times better than doing absolutely nothing.

Consistency or my lack thereof is why this blog has been dormant. The more thought I give to the concept of consistency, the more I believe it is a paramount trait of success. Hell, this blog is a prime example. Getting up and doing what you need to do every day. Going after it regardless of feeling good, or feeling bad; whether you’re happy or sad; inspired or bummed. Consistency is the key. Just showing up when it feels like the hardest thing in the world, is far more important than raw talent. At least that is what I’m starting to believe.

In reflection, I’m not devoid of consistency. It’s not like I woke up today and said, “I should really give consistency a shot.” I have been able to put some level of consistency to work for me. In my personal life, I have displayed as a husband and father positive qualities that have some reflection of consistency. In the workplace, the area of my life that has seen a high level of relative success (as defined monetarily), I think I have been very consistent with my efforts.

When I first started this project, I was inspired! I was looking forward to fleshing out the blog posts, which quickly turned into a blog and vlog. I was motivated, the creative juices were flowing, things were going great…. And as they always do, things got hard in my life. I had stressful business situations; I needed to go on an interviewing spree to cover unexpected turnover. I took the plunge and decided to move my entire ERP system to the cloud and in conjunction roll out a new CRM and inventory management system. The team grew, my time shrank. I had 1 million more excuses. Outside of work, our extended family was going through some heavy stuff. In the face of everything going on, the first thing to fall off was the blog and vlog.

I was short of many things that would have kept me going. Most of all I believed I lacked motivation!

I recently read to my children “The Way of the Warrior Kid” an elementary aged children’s book by Jocko Willink, retired Navy Seal. It’s a book I will return to with my kids again in the future. It followed a simple narrative about overcoming obstacles in life and deciding that you are in control of your circumstance. Something I think everyone, including our little ones, needs to hear every once and a while.

There’s a great line in the book – Discipline equals Freedom. It seems oxymoronic, but his explanation in the book was wonderful. Being motivated will fade, but following rules and more specifically rules you set for yourself will give you freedom. When you are tired in the morning and hit that snooze button, that lack of discipline creates anxiety. You beat yourself up for missing that morning workout. You stew over your choice, regret sets in, self-pity or worse self-hate works its ugly face out from under your bed.

But discipline takes that anxiety away, you wake up and get moving regardless of how you feel. Oddly, the lack of choice, the sheer minimalism of at least showing up, and going through the motions is many times better than doing absolutely nothing. The so-called freedom to do whatever pleases you causes you more stress than following the rules you set forth for yourself.

Jocko’s point is that creating a clear set of rules for yourself removes the worry of the decision-making. Your discipline frees you of anxiety.

Parallel to this, I’ve also come to believe that motivation is overrated. Motivation wanes. Discipline is the great equalizer.

This is something that I need to reinforce in my life. I’m waiting for the right feeling, for the groove to hit, but maybe that needs to stop.

To put forth change, I’ve come up with a core set of disciplines, or necessities; some things for every day, others for most days.I’ve also reaffirmed that I will commit to a new blog post each week from now until the end of 2018. Even if the blog post is not perfect and polished, it will be posted. I will become consistent.

The ultimate goal is that I can exercise the consistency muscle in smaller doses and start to apply it to all facets of my work and personal life. I need to strengthen that framework. This blog post is a memorialization, and declaration of consistency. I am throwing down the gauntlet to prove I can extend consistency further than my past self. I want to be above motivation. I want my discipline to set me free.

Thanks for reading.

-Dan