When it comes to performance, they are two big aspects I like to discuss: how to elevate it – and how to sustain it.
The importance of each depends on the context.
If you are competing at the Olympics, you want to peak during the event to get the best outcome possible. However, for most corporate jobs, short spikes followed by long resting periods don’t seem the right way to go.
Still, many follow this pattern. The deadline is approaching, and nothing is ready yet. Quick, let’s work overtime. On the weekend, in the shower and while picking up the kids at school. Let’s not forget to skip dinner and barely sleep.
That’s it! We made it, everybody! We met the deadline! Time to hibernate for the next three weeks, to recover before the next rush.
Obviously, it doesn’t sound sustainable.
There has to be a better way — a way to do things differently. And the answer is consistency.
Consistency tells a story and makes it a reality.
Consistency is an underrated skill. It feels boring. We are far from a Hollywood movie where a strike of genius or a heroic feat turns a dire situation around. Yet, more often than not, consistency is the actual difference maker.
At work, who would you trust most? John, who spikes as the deadline approaches or Diane, who steadily and consistently delivers?
It feels like John is always an uncertain bet, a coin flip, and you are unsure if you will get the Olympian performance or the bear hibernation. But Diane, she is reliable. You can trust her estimates, and you can plan around her performance.
Consistency creates certainty.
And this certainty eases our minds. We know things will be taken care of. We can close a mental tab. Diane is the rock. She always gets things done. No backsies; she always keeps her word.
But consistency is hard.
It’s tough because we have to be consistent in a world that is not. And there are days rougher than others. Days when nothing seems to be on our side. But, how we show up on bad days matters as much, if not more, than on good ones.
We can get a perfect example of why consistency is impactful, no matter our situation, when we think of friendship. What would you think of “friends” that disappear when difficulties arise? What would you think of “friends” that are only there when it’s convenient – on the good days?
Seth Godin, best-selling author and marketing guru, explains that one key to success for many businesses is differentiating themselves from their competitors. Of course, there are many ways to do this, from picking a niche market, playing on price (low-cost or luxury), and so on. But to him, one aspect that is too often overlooked is consistency.
Consistency is hard.
And being consistent, again and again, over time, that’s rare. Consistency sets you apart from the crowd. It makes you stand out. And it pays off. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that employees who are more consistent in their work performance are more likely to receive promotions and pay rises .
So how can we be more consistent and build sustainable performance?
To begin to answer this question, I’d like to take a broader view, going beyond work and deliverables, and quote ‘Atomic Habits’ author James Clear, who states:
“Every action you take is a vote for the person you want to be.”
Consistency starts there. Who do you want to be? And what does this person consistently do?
Are you a father who is always home on time to spend time with your kids?
Are you a runner who is training daily to finish your next marathon in less than 4 hours?
Are you a leader who is always there for your teams, listens actively, and can be trusted?
As you embrace one or many identities, you build an inner source of strength to be consistent. To show up, even on bad days. Because you know why it matters to you. And then, it becomes easier for you to consistently vote, with your actions, for who you want to be.
Remember, every day, you will have to cast a ballot. What will this vote say about you?
To your success,
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- Barrick M. R. and others, 2001, “Personality and performance at the beginning of the new millennium: What do we know and where do we go next?”, Journal of Applied Psychology
Whenever you are ready, here are a few ways I can help:
- If you are about to make an important decision for yourself (or your team) – let me be part of your inner circle and work towards your success, book a call with me to discuss this.
- Book one of my workshops for your team to elevate energy and performance. More information here.
- With my first book Act Before You overThink to learn how to make better decisions faster and liberate your mind from the constant chatter that hinders your potential. You can buy it here.