Consistency (or the lack thereof)

consistency-is-key

Consistency is something that you rarely find reflected in every aspect of our lives. The term “work-life balance” has come out of the woodwork as more millennials aspire to avoid the long hours and the stress which comes with a lucrative career. Funnily enough, many people have turned to entrepreneurship as some sort of “safe haven” of limitless time, excitement, partying and playing bad-boy in the boardroom. It’s actually hilarious.

You see, over the past few months, I have hyper-focused myself on business (in addition to my scholarly pursuits), and haven’t even found the energy to make a well, thought-out post until now. Truly, there’s been a lack of consistency on my part in regards to this blog, and so I will use that deficiency as an example for this piece.

I published my last post on August 13th, 2015 regarding Beaches & Brands, and what they had in common. Since then, I have taken the liberty of beginning a niche, new product by the name of BUZZ COCOA – a caffeinated hot chocolate blend (www.BUZZCOCOA.com). The product has been doing quite well, and I’m currently in talks with big box retailers who are interested in placing some BUZZ in their storefronts. While there has been much success with the product, there has been even more time sacrificed to make the business work.

(Psst…if you want to try some of my delicious cocoa, use “BARDEN20” for 20% off your order)

Alright, got my shameless plug in there, now back to the meat and potatoes. The work I began seven odd months ago led to a tremendous pile of deadlines and stress in a field I was definitely not well-versed in. I had never launched a consumer product, and being consistently concerned with the product appeal, its progress, and next steps, I almost lost my mind. Not to mention the logistics department, which consisted of only myself, and was pretty much a stand-up comedy show for the first week. Literally, I would stand for hours as I put together packages and readied them for shipment. Let me correct something I said: I actually did lose my mind.

The progress was great, the business was booming, and the feedback was always positive, but my head was spinning.

Amongst all the other obligations I had in my life, finding the balance between my work and life became much harder. I would sometimes slip into what I called “cocoa-comas,” where I would be working for hours upon end with my phone on silent, completely out of touch with the world and what else I had to get done. After several weeks of this, I realized that I wasn’t doing myself any good by obsessing over everything BUZZ, and ignoring all other to-do’s. That’s when I came up with a plan and set out to achieve that balance.

The above video shows Admiral William H. McRaven giving the 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin. To save yourself some time, you can skip to the 4:45 minute mark where the golden truth reveals itself. The Admiral says that in basic Navy SEAL training, he was instructed to make his bed each and every morning. Sounds silly, right? Why would young men training to become hardened warriors need to make their beds? He continues on to explain that the reasoning behind making your bed each morning (as the first task) stimulates your brain in such a way that it recognizes the little accomplish of making your bed, and encourages you to keep making more accomplishments throughout the day.

So I did just that. I went ahead and made sure I perfected the art of making my bed, each and every morning. By the end of the first week, I saw noticeable changes in my morning routine. I would wake up each morning groggy, wanting to hit snooze one last time. But when I saw that reminder saying, “Make bed,” I would drag myself out of bed into a standing position, begin making my bed, and once I forced myself to smooth out the creases and round the edges – I snapped out of my grogginess and felt good about what I had just accomplished. It actually worked.

Now that I had found the way to start my mornings out right, I began undertaking more accomplishments. I would set a list each day of what I needed to get done (in addition to any meetings or prior commitments), and before bed each night I would review those to-do’s and see how much I accomplished. Since I began making my bed to perfection each morning – consistently – I saw my productivity dramatically increase. That tiny accomplishment at the beginning of my day has now given me the extra push I’ve needed to get things done.

That brings me to our topic at hand: consistency, and the work-life balance enigma. In order to master this higher power of work-life balance, one must achieve consistency in all that they do. But in order to achieve consistency, one must be consistent in the little things. For those little things pivot our thinking at a delicate pace, so-much-so as to not overwhelm you with the overbearing feeling of “too much”. Start small and work your way up.

Finally, the application – how do we blend the theory of consistency and the application of success? Well, correlating consistency and success is a start. But to fully bridge the gap, we need to address one final facet of the struggling millennial mind…entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur is really a great endeavor – you work in your own world of creativity and development, immune to the red tape of regular corporate conglomerates. Plus, if you’re good enough, you might end up becoming the 6th richest person in the world.

All fantasies aside, the path to entrepreneurial success is not as simple as setting up a website, buying business cards, incorporating your LLC, and putting together a pitch deck. It’s not all about strategy and vision. A majority of entrepreneurs these days miss out on the most key component to success: determined perseverance, also known as hard work. I use that fancy terminology because it has a place in what we’ve just discussed.

Mastering your work and your life requires achieving consistency in both. In order to achieve consistency, one must be consistent in the little things. In all areas, the little things are what annoy us most, and so they require determined perseverance.

Push yourself. Identify what you want out of your life and your work and push yourself. That’s the only way you will see the results you want. And you cannot simply pass over the little things. As my good friend Shia LaBeouf once said, “Just do it.”

Actually, what might help you get focused is a little jolt of energy. I may be biased, but each serving size of BUZZ COCOA has the same effects as a strong cup of coffee. Let’s not forget that I’ll give you 20% off if you use “BARDEN20” at checkout…

Speaking of shameless product placement, I can check that off my to-do list now! #Accomplished