“To live a life of virtue, you have to become consistent, even when it isn’t convenient, comfortable, or easy.
“It is incumbent that your thoughts, words, and deeds match up. This is a higher standard than that held by the mob. … When your thoughts, words, and deeds form a seamless fabric, you streamline your efforts and thus eliminate worry and dread. In this way, it is easier to seek goodness than to conduct yourself in a haphazard fashion or according to the feelings of the moment …
“It’s so simple really: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you start something, finish it.”
(My emphasis added.)
Consistently completing any action builds on itself and builds momentum.
Momentum creates at least part of the streamlining referred to in LaBelle’s summary of The Virtuous Are Consistent, and (not coincidentally) it multiplies the effect of everything that you do.
So here’s this week’s question:
When it comes to taking steps to grow your business or your ministry, how consistent are you?
Do you yield when it isn’t convenient, comfortable, or easy to carry through with the plans you’ve set for yourself? (There’s no shame in that; we all yield at times. The key is to discover when you tend to yield and how to restart yourself.) If you find yourself yielding today, what’s one step you could take right now to shift that pattern? Can you …
- Make a follow-up call?
- Contact someone who has shown interest in your congregation and invite her for a get-to-know-you-better coffee?
- Finally shoot the video that will introduce you to the people you’d like to reach?
- Figure out what you’ll say when you introduce yourself or when someone asks you about the change you want to make in the world or the community you’re seeking to serve?
- Talk with clients, former clients, or congregational members to find out what they want, how you might meet it, and what you bring to the table that uniquely positions you to meet the need?
Chances are that you have a list (at least a mental list) of those nagging tasks that you’ve allowed to slide through the cracks.
Studies show that delaying and dreading an activity takes as much or more mental and emotional energy than actually doing the task. Doesn’t it make sense to give up the avoidance by making a habit so you consistently get the work done instead? Here’s how:
- Develop a list of your must-do activities. Your non-negotiables may include repetition or they may be one-offs, but your clarity about what’s included significantly increases the likelihood that you will take action. Keep the list in a form that allows you to add and remove tasks as necessary. (My favorite app for task management is Nozbe, which incorporates principles of Getting Things Done.)
- Schedule a specific time for activity designed to grow your business or your ministry. A daily activity block is especially helpful in building consistency and in helping you to regain your footing if you get knocked off track.
- Keep your appointments with yourself. Even (maybe especially) when you don’t want to. If you’ve ever pulled back from a business relationship or friendship with a person who, though well intended, broke too many promises to be trustworthy, you know the damage that broken promises can inflict. Don’t teach yourself that you can’t count on yourself to do what you’ve said you will.
- Design accountability for yourself. Buddy up with a colleague, share your promises with a mentor, use an app, or just use the Seinfeld “don’t break the chain” method on a calendar. How you keep yourself accountable is much less important than that you keep yourself accountable.
- Start small. If you haven’t been consistent with your business or ministry growth activity in the past, pick one key action. Use the tips set out here to gain consistency on that task, then add others. Just like deciding to jump off the sofa and hit the gym for two hours every day when you haven’t done any meaningful exercise in three years is destined to fail, grandiose business development plans tend not to stick.
What can you do today to develop consistency in actions that will build your business or your ministry?
What are you waiting for?
About Julie Fleming
Julie A. Fleming, JD, ACC, principal of Lex Innova Consulting, teaches lawyers to use innovative and effective measures to build a strong book of business and a lucrative practice. A former patent litigator, she is the author of The Reluctant Rainmaker: A Guide for Lawyers Who Hate Selling, Seven Foundations of Time Mastery for Attorneys, and the forthcoming Legal Rainmaking Myths: What You Think You Know About Business Development Can Kill Your Practice,as well as numerous articles focusing on topics such as business development, practice management, work/life balance, and leadership development. Before launching her consulting business, Julie practiced law for over a decade in firms of 3 to more than 2100 attorneys, specializing in patent litigation. A graduate of the Emory University School of Law, Vanderbilt University (B.A.) and Georgia State University (B.S.), Julie is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and currently serves as Vice Chair of the ABA Section of Science and Technology Law.
Jory has invited me to write on how to grow a solid business, and I’d love to hear your questions! What frustrates you? What challenges would you like to transform into opportunity? What are you curious about? Comment on this post and/or send your questions directly to Julie@LexInnovaConsulting.com. Please let me know you’re a friend of Jory’s. Can’t wait to hear from you!