Accidental Entrepreneur: Setting Yourself for Success (Why and How to Stay Consistent In Life!)
Welcome to my 44th weekly article as this week is called “Setting Yourself for Success (Why and How to Stay Consistent In Life!”
In this article, I discuss some key characteristics and actions that individuals can use to achieve career success. Of all the key characteristics that are needed, the most important one is Consistency. Consistent action in a disciplined manner is what yields long term sustainable success.
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“தெய்வத்தான் ஆகா தெனினும் முயற்சிதன்
மெய்வருத்தக் கூலி தரும்”. — திருக்குறள் (619)
“Though you are destined to lose ; consistent efforts
and hard-work will reap you success at the right time”.
— Thirukkural (619)
I have been writing about the tools and methodologies to become successful in the world of business and startups. Some of them are hard skills such as education and learning while others are soft skills like networking, sharing knowledge to ultimately help each other. Once a person begins to learn, master and apply them, then there is one more characteristic that supplements all of these activities. It’s Consistency!. Consistency mixed with hard work tends to yield quite a bit of success as well as experience gathering.
For those who think that my superior knowledge and smartness is good enough to achieve success, here are few pointers as to why consistency and hard work is equivalently important or more important for career success:
- Discipline: First and foremost, consistency creates discipline in one’s life. People tend to stray into many activities and get distracted with time management. Consistent time allocation, methodical approach, and constant results are the outcome of discipline along with consistent behavior.
- Setting Expectations: Consistency in all tasks helps setting expectations easy. A person with consistent behavior is easy to manage and as a manager, it’s easier to know what the outcome would be.
- Building Muscle Memory: In my early career, I heard this word “Muscle memory” and didn’t understand what it meant. Muscle Memory is when an activity or task is completed without much effort from the brain. A person with good experience and repetitiveness, can perform a task simply. Consistency is one of the major factors in building muscle memory!
- Building Trusts: Consistency creates trust among team members and superiors. A person with consistent productivity is given more high impact/visible tasks and opportunities for further career advancement (promotions/new jobs).
- Mental Health: Finally for a person to stay sane in the world of changing priorities and growing expectations, I find that consistency is the important factor which can help organize and navigate through the changes.
Now I have established that why the consistency is important for success, let me articulate few actions one could take to become consistent in their career and life:
- Set Schedule: I have been writing these articles for the last two years and have written more than 100 articles. One thing I tell to those people who asked how I am able to do this consistently is that I have a set schedule for when to come up with ideas and pointers which is early in the week prior to Wednesday. I then write the first draft by Friday evening and work with the editor on Saturday to publish on Sunday mornings. These rough timelines help me organize my work and deliver results consistently.
- Being Methodological: Just like building a complex product, it’s important to break down tasks into small increments and have a vision to put them together for project completion. By repeatedly following those steps it helps create “muscle memory”. As a person becomes experienced, these methods become first nature and he or she optimizes the paths to be efficient. Another advantage of being methodical is that when a person becomes less motivated the process will keep him or her continue to perform consistently.
- Time Management: Time management is a critical issue for creative people with too many “good” ideas. To deliver the results consistently and within a given schedule, it’s important to divide the time along with tasks for each time slot. By assigning time to work on specific tasks to complete the given tasks as well as reserving some time for free thinking or outside tasks, one can perform consistently while spending some time on the other passions.
- Alignment with External Factors: Many times people would say that the reason for not being able to complete a task is some external factors or other people. In my experience, all projects would always have some external dependencies. Articulating those as part of the planning process and aligning with external deliverables can help deliver the results to the plans.
- Writing Down: The most important way to deliver consistently is to write down the tasks and approaches in a point format. I use both paper notebooks as well as “notes” on my iPhone. As humans, we tend to come up with too many ideas and become distracted. By writing them down and identifying/prioritizing the tasks, one can become a consistent performer.
- Greater Goal: All projects will have ups and downs as well as unexpected roadblocks. Having understanding of the overall goal of the projects and how each step of the way could impact the overall results. It also reduces the confusion and helps achieve the results within the specified time.
- Time to recover from mistakes: Consistency means performing tasks in specific order or ways. By following the same path, when a person makes a mistake or when an approach doesn’t yield desired result, it becomes easy to (post) analyze the steps and correct it quickly. I have had a few scenarios where one team member went on an ad hoc methodology and took many weeks to correct the course.
- Relax and Reflect: Consistent execution provides time to relax during the project time and reflect after completion of the project. This to me is the learning and building experiences for future projects. Consistency reduces randomness, therefore reduces unnecessary stress.
- Find time to celebrate/reward: Consistency needs a clear start point, “Project Kick-off”, and an endpoint, “Group celebration”. By having these well established points, consistent performers can take a breather and relax and prepare themselves for next adventures.
As I stated, consistency is the overlaying characteristic for people to perform well and deliver good results. Consistent effort can create success and self fulfillment as well as reduce the stress on day to day life. What do you think about consistency?