When my business first peaked, my newsletter would go out like clockwork every week. And every Sunday I would go through my prospect list and list out who I needed to contact that week. During my ‘wilderness’ years when my morale dropped because I couldn’t resolve how to help the 85% of my clients getting underwhelming results, this newsletter would go out very sporadically. Sometimes a few months would go by and I wouldn’t send it out at all. Then I’d have an ‘up’ burst and send it out for a few weeks. Then it would stutter, stop for a while, re-start and repeat. For years. My weekly prospecting habit happened (at best) every other month.
A few years ago, I recall getting a very excited referral to a woman who I was told had a brilliant business idea. My friend Michael said, “You’ve got to meet her. Try to figure out how to work with her.” I thought I’d heard it all but I remember going home after meeting her for coffee and telling my wife how I wish I’d thought of her idea. I rather enviously said to myself: “She’s going to make millions.” But she has only gone through bursts of ups and downs and never established any ongoing traction or trajectory. I see her on social media or in my inbox for a while and then months of silence.
In 2017 I coached an inspiring and immensely likable advisor with big goals. He exploded out of the gates and everyone in his weekly coaching group loved him. Two months later he wanted to quit. “I’ve figured it out now,” he assured me. I told him this was unwise because his biggest presenting problem was too many peaks and valleys. For many months after that he would have a hot streak and go cold for as long. Nothing has changed since then. No big goal has been met.
Everyone rightly talks about the power of persistency. But what gets surprisingly little airtime is the power and frequent absence of CONSISTENCY.
After a few days off this week, the last thing I wanted to do today was writing my newsletter article. After a year of Pandemic and virtually no days off, something inside me was screaming “I want more of a break! I need it! That felt really good!” But it occurred to me that this is often our biggest problem. We have a good recipe, but we don’t feel like using it.
When I look at the 15% biggest success stories of people I’ve coached, they rarely exploded out of the gates. They picked small things to work on that were effective at generating business and did them week-in and week-out. By year end – and several times it took 2-3 years – their results were spectacular. Numbers so good they sound made up.
In 2018 I gave someone from a networking group a referral. It was a big company and it took him a few months of consistent calling to turn it into business, but he got paid $200,000 on the new account. Even though his business opportunities are few and far between, he has persevered over the years and through the Pandemic and all the demoralizing weeks of nothing happening in the long sales cycles. I know: I’ve had coffee with him during a few of those weeks. I’ve seen that look of internal strife on his face and heard his brave words. In 2020 his company was bought out and he was paid $1,000,000 for that one account (which is now worth $30m).
Inconsistency: We do it with prospecting; we do it with exercise. We do it with professional development; we do it with saving money. (Or pick your own Achilles Heel).
It’s another benefit to tiny habits. If you’re struggling to get back on track, go tiny and at least get back in the game. If it’s too much to do 100 air squats or make 10 outreach calls to prospects today, do 5, make 1 and celebrate. Try to make it a game.
What do you need to be more consistent with? Today make a small start. This has been a challenging year for everyone in certain ways. Your desire to ‘protest’ is understandable since you’ve had numerous freedoms taken away without your consent. Dig deeper. Imagine your country is at war and you’ve got to suck it up, do your best, and be a role model to your loved ones.
Feel good about your decisions. Ramp up whenever you want to but no guilt trips, okay? Much sooner rather than later you will be back in your saddle.
You are not alone in your challenges with being consistent and your future success in all areas depends on it.
Keep the faith in yourself!
Copyright Matt Anderson, 2021
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International
1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121