When it comes to being successful, doesn’t it just seem like some people just have all the luck and others are not meant to succeed at whatever it is that they want to be successful at? If you think about it, what is it that successful people have that those who want to be successful don’t have yet?
I’m not talking only about financial or career success – I’m talking about being successful in any area of your life. Whether it’s being successful in your relationships, in being a good mother, in having the level of health and wellness you want, in being more organized, in better managing your time, in not people-pleasing, or in setting and achieving certain goals – what does it actually take to succeed?
When is it your turn to have a happy marriage, be a mompreneur making your own hours, have a vacation home on the lake, or be able to wear that pretty dress that’s gotten too tight over the years? If you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably an accountant, so you’ve been successful in school and in achieving whatever you needed to in order to become an accountant, but what about everything else you’d like to be successful at?
How much time and effort does it take to be successful at something? And how do you know you’re not wasting that time and effort on something that just isn’t meant to be? How do you know when to walk away or when to keep going?
If you’ve had any of these questions, join the club! I, and so many of the accountant moms I speak to and coach, have had the same questions swirling around in our heads – what does it take to be successful, no matter what it is you’d like to be successful at?
Why do some women seem to make it look easy and why does it have to be so hard for us? What is it that we’re missing and is there someone who can help us find the missing piece to the puzzle?
I’ve had all the same struggles that you have had, and then some, and I can tell you that there actually is one skill you need to learn and apply in order to be successful. This one particular skill is the thing that divides the people that are successful from those that aren’t.
It might sound a bit harsh, but it’s true – there is one skill that separates the successful from the unsuccessful. It’s the thing that can make that happy marriage possible, that can have you reaching your financial goals, that can help you create more hours in the day, and can have you fitting into that pretty dress.
The reason that everyone doesn’t succeed at what they want to be successful at is because this one skill takes effort, and if you’ve learned anything from this podcast, you know that your brain does not like things that take effort. Your brain likes things that are simple, fun, and easy, which makes it challenging to learn and apply this tne skill, but thankfully, not impossible.
This week I’m going to discuss the only skill needed in order to be successful and 4 steps you can use to apply it.
The only skill needed in order to be successful
You’ve probably heard the expression “Success leaves clues” – well it really is true. That’s the reason why it’s so important to choose wisely who you spend your time with, a topic I’ll be discussing in an upcoming podcast episode.
You see, if you want to be successful, you need to spend time with successful people because they will leave clues. This is why I learn as much as I can from my mentor – a $50 million dollar a year female entrepreneur who works 3 days a week, who helps other women have successful careers.
If I’m going to learn how to do something, I’m not going to recreate the wheel. Instead of spinning in confusion, I’m going to learn from someone who’s willing to teach me their secret; someone who is not only an example of what’s possible, but is also willing to share what works and what doesn’t.
So here’s the secret I learned from my mentor, in order to be successful – it all comes down to consistency. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this secret, because consistency is something that most of us have a very difficult time doing and then mastering.
Consistency is incredibly challenging at first because you’re working against your natural tendency towards immediate gratification and the adrenaline rush you get with something new. Being consistent isn’t immediately gratifying and the excitement inherent in newness isn’t present when you are taking the same action over and over again.
The problem is that consistency can often seem boring, especially in this modern, immediate gratification, distraction-laced world we live in. While it’s great that we have so many options, unfortunately, our brain has become intolerant of boredom and seeks that dopamine hit it gets when it sees a new “shiny object” to focus on.
But here’s the thing – what you do consistently, you get good at, even if it produces a net negative effect. If you think about it, you’re already successful at certain things by virtue of the fact that you’re consistent at them, but do you actually like the results of the things that you’re consistent at? Really think about that.
For example, if you are consistent at complaining about work, guess what you’ve succeeded at? Finding things to complain about at work. If you are consistent at yelling at your kids when it’s time to go to bed, guess what you’ve succeeded at? Finding reasons to yell at your kids at bedtime.
The issue is that we’re all successful at certain things because we’re all consistent in one way or another, but how many of us are paying attention to what those things are and whether we like them or not, or whether they’re helpful or not. We’re not being intentional with what we’re consistent with, but instead we complain about our lack of success in various areas of our lives.
We want to be successful, we want certain things in our lives, and we want how it’s going to feel to have success, but we don’t always want to do the work in the moment, that’s required to get there. We want to feel great for having been successful at something, but we just don’t want to do the work.
The truth is that you have the results you currently have in your life because of your actions and inactions, some of which you’ve done consistently, but that you aren’t very happy with. Believe me, I totally get it – I’ve struggled with being consistent with many things in my life, but by learning from my mentor and following her example of consistency, I’ve been able to be much more consistent and successful at things than I have been in the past.
Don’t get me wrong – I still have the same “shiny object syndrome” that you do because it’s what human brains are programmed to do, but I also know how important this one skill is in helping me to work towards being successful in whatever I’m choosing to focus on. By following her steps and suggestions, I’ve embraced consistency more than ever before, so now let me help you to be consistent as well.
4 Step You Can Use To Be Consistent
As I said before, my mentor is an incredibly successful female entrepreneur that gets a lot done in a short amount of time because of this one skill – consistency. She knows exactly how to manage her brain so that she doesn’t fall into the trap of shiny object syndrome, but instead pays attention to the direction her brain wants to go and redirects it to where she wants it to go.
So no matter what it is that you’d like to be successful at, I’m going to share the 4 steps that you can use in order to learn the skill of being consistent:
Step #1 – Know your why
Throughout the 4 steps I’m going to share with you, I’m going to use this podcast as an example in order to explain each of the steps. But first, I have to be transparent and tell you that I almost didn’t make it past the first month of recording this podcast.
I remember doing the whole process on a weekly basis – choosing a topic, doing the research, writing the show notes, recording, editing, and publishing the podcast, and then creating the blog from the show notes – and by the end of 4 weeks I thought I had made a huge mistake. I kept thinking it was too hard, it took too much time, and no one was going to listen.
But then my mentor reminded me that you’re NOT going to want to do the thing in the moment that you want to be successful at, but knowing your why helps you to focus on your desire for why it’s important. Knowing your why helps you to stay devoted to doing it, especially when it’s hard.
She explained that using willpower to do something isn’t sustainable because willpower runs out, and it’s exhausting to try to maintain it. She offered that instead of trying to work from WILL-power, I instead try working from WHY-power.
The truth is that you will always have valid reasons for not being consistent – you’ll get sick, your kids will need you, unexpected things will come up – but when you know your why, it helps you to understand why you want to do that thing even if you’re tired, frustrated, annoyed, or pressed for time.
My why for this podcast was to help accountant moms understand how to have a better career and a better life. That meant that I was willing to want to do something else, other than everything it takes to create a finished podcast episode, but still do the work to have it complete every single week for the past 3 ½ years.
Here’s the thing – I’m willing to be consistent because helping you all is my why. Now that I’ve been consistent for over 3 years, not letting other things get in the way of my consistency, it’s gotten so much easier and enjoyable to be consistent with the weekly creation of this podcast.
Step #2 – Plan on failing
One of the things that often trips us up on the way to being successful at something is that we are afraid of failing. We have societal messages like ‘Failure is not an option”, but the truth is that it would be much easier for you to stay consistent if you were okay with the fact that failure IS an option.
This is especially tough for accountants because we tend to be perfectionists. We are so highly intolerant of failure that we often give up too easily or don’t even attempt something if we can’t be perfect at it.
That’s definitely how it was for me when I decided I wanted to do this podcast – every little thing that I didn’t do perfectly became a reason to give up. An episode didn’t record properly, I lost my train of thought and went off on a tangent, I forgot to insert the pre-recorded intro to the beginning of the recording, or the number of downloads weren’t what I wanted it to be – these all became reasons to give up.
But what my mentor shared was that, not only should you plan on failing on your road to success, but that you should also plan on failing at being consistent as well. The truth is that your attempt at consistency will not be perfect and that’s okay.
You do not want to have an all-or-nothing mindset when it comes to the skill of consistency because that just gives you a reason to stop. When, not if, you mess up one day in your attempt to be consistent, don’t miss day two just because you weren’t perfect on day one.
When you’re learning the skill of being consistent, be gentle with yourself, go for the law of averages, and plan on failing so that you don’t make it mean anything has gone wrong.
Step #3 – Celebrate your wins
This is something that most women have difficulty with – celebrating ourselves. We’re very good at showing pride and appreciation for others, especially our children, but when it comes to us, we take the back seat.
The funny thing is that we know why celebrating wins is important for our children, in order to encourage them and build their self-confidence, but we seem to forget how important it is for us as well. We’ll want to hear about everything someone did, achieved, or accomplished, yet we’ll stay silent with our own wins and accomplishments.
When it comes to this third step in learning to be consistent, it’s about celebrating your wins along the way, not just at the finish line. It’s about paying attention to each time you show up in order to be consistent, and especially when you failed and didn’t quit.
With this podcast, I had to learn to celebrate each step along the way to creating each episode. When I came up with a topic that I liked, I told myself “Good job”; when I found the best photo image that tied to the theme of the episode, I high-fived myself; since the show notes are typically divided into 3 parts, whenever I finished writing each part, I sat back and said “That looks great”.
What my mentor taught me is to celebrate the things I learned, to celebrate the failures because that meant that I was at least trying, and to celebrate the times I didn’t give up. She shared that while being consistent leads to success, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and that managing your brain along the way is the only way to be truly successful.
So after every episode is finally published, and every step has been celebrated along the way, I look at my list of topics and start all over again. I make a decision every single week to keep creating this podcast and I celebrate myself along the way, as I help accountant moms each and every week.
Step #4 – Don’t be in a rush
The issue most of us have is that we aren’t consistent because we want things to be quick, especially in this age of technology and 2-day Amazon shipping. We want instant gratification and when we don’t get it, we allow ourselves to get distracted by the next shiny object.
I heard something on a podcast recently that I found interesting – the giant timber bamboo takes 5 years before it even starts to grow; before it even breaks through the surface of the soil it’s planted in. As a mother you can probably relate to how much it takes for your children to grow from birth to 5 years old.
Just think about the nurturing and patience it takes to raise a child from birth to 5 years old. The funny thing with the giant timber bamboo is that once it reaches the surface and is exposed to the sunlight, it grows over 90 feet in 60 days.
It’s important to understand that the difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful people consistently do what other people only do occasionally. Successful people don’t get impatient and give up on the bamboo; they water it, knowing that eventually it will reach the surface.
Not being in a rush has been one of the hardest things for me with this podcast – many, many times I was ready to walk away, feeling like I wasn’t making the difference I wanted to make. And then someone would leave an amazing review on Itunes or message me on social media, letting me know how much she benefited from the podcast; another person would leave a review saying how glad they were to have found it; a few women have shared that they cried after hearing one of the episodes.
Here’s the funny thing – I showed up week after week for two years and one day while doing some research, I discovered that the podcast was named one of the top podcasts for working moms. I remember thinking, “I’m so glad I didn’t give up, even when I really wanted to. I’m so glad I didn’t rush and that my consistency paid off”.
So no matter what it is that you’d like to be successful at, I promise you that knowing your why, being okay with failing along the way, celebrating your wins for each small step, and not being in a rush, is how you consistently take action. It’s how my mentor plans on making $100 million a year, how I plan on writing a book for accountants, and how I hope you plan on being successful at whatever lights you up.
- It might sound a bit harsh, but it’s true – there is one skill that separates the successful from the unsuccessful.
- The reason that everyone doesn’t succeed at what they want to be successful at is because this one skill takes effort, and if you’ve learned anything from this podcast, you know that your brain does not like things that take effort.
- What you do consistently, you get good at, even if it produces a net negative effect.