#71: Consistency is Key
A few weeks ago, I was out to dinner (outdoors and socially distanced, natch) with my in-laws when they asked me how my new business is going. I said things were fine, but then joked that I was feeling a little like a failure because I wasn't closing business as quickly as I wanted to. (My exact words were, "What the hell is wrong with me? I've been doing this for six weeks and I'm not rich or famous yet!")
And that's a real thing that entrepreneurs struggle with—the amount of time it takes to be truly known and successful in your field. No one is an overnight success, but the way we frame our success stories often makes it seem that we were. (I'm guilty of this, too. When I tell the story of Legion, I skip over the hard parts, saying only that I started it x number of years ago in my basement and now it's a $20 million company. It wasn't that easy, folks.) We've come to expect that success—whether that's closing customers, or becoming a thought leader, or being rich and famous—will come instantly, or after just a little hard work.
The simple fact of the matter is that it won't. Success comes after a LOT of hard work, and some luck, and only with consistency. When I start to get down on myself for not having 10,000 LinkedIn connections, or 500 subscribers to my blog, or 100,000 views of my latest video, I remember something my personal trainer said to me a long time ago. I was apologizing (a problem in and of itself) to him because I was having a crap day at the gym. I was tired, my muscles weren't doing what I wanted them to do, and I wasn't pushing the weight I wanted to push, so I told him that I was sorry. His response stuck with me.
"Lacy," he said, "every day at the gym isn't going to be your best. What matters, though, is that you continue to show up. You are consistent, and you have been for years. Consistency is what is going to make the difference in your strength and conditioning, not one or two killer workouts. I'd rather see you in here, struggling through a workout three times a week than try to train you once a month when you feel amazing."
And the same is true in business. One or two great blogs, a video that goes viral, having one big customer—that's not going to build a business. Consistent effort, day after day, week after week, is what is going to make me rich and famous. Hoping for something else is folly, AND it diminishes the work of all those who have been successful before me. Being a success, being a thought leader, being "rich and famous," takes WORK. It takes STRUGGLE. It takes showing up, day after day, when you are tired, when your mental muscles don't want to do what you are asking them to do, when you can't push the weight you want to. The truly successful don't wait for a flash of brilliance or creativity or a viral video or a million likes. They just show up and do the work. Consistently.