When I started my business, "being consistent" was the piece of advice that everyone was talking about to "be successful online". And the consistency I was sold was:
You need to be showing up every day on social. You need to post 10 IG stories. You need to email your list at least 3x per week. You need to be sliding in 50 people's DM's every day.
That felt tiresome, and not me at all. So...every time that I was not being "consistent", I felt like a failure. I believed that this was the reason why my business was not accomplishing XYZ.
It took me years to dissociate from this concept and acknowledge how the lure of consistency increased my anxiety and depression one hundred fold.
What is consistency?
According to the dictionary Oxford Languages, consistency is "conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness"
Getting clear with concepts is something that really supports me in finding my own ways of being and doing [inside all my programs, I start with definitions, to make sure we are on the same page]
Consistency is conformity for the sake of logic, accuracy or fairness. Conformity is "behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards" [again, according to the dictionary]
When we talk about consistency in business, we are talking about acting in a way that is socially accepted. Can you see the fallacy here?
The fallacy of consistency
The fallacy lies in the phrase "socially accepted". Most of our conditioning comes from socially accepted behavior.
All the things you learned from your parents, family, guardians, and society are "socially accepted." If not by the general population, they are accepted by your group of peers. If we are to be consistent in that way, no matter how much mindset work we put in, those trappings will come back again to bite us in the a$$.
Because our actions [what is socially accepted] is not in congruence with our mindset [the inner shifts we are making], when we show confusion between our mind and actions, nothing we desire comes to reality. Or, it comes with a lot of resistance.
In my life, I saw this seeking for consistency as very detrimental to my mental health for 2 main reasons:
when I was being as consistent as expected by my peers: I was forcing, pushing, going against the flow of my life [and my mind]. I felt that I was creating content, or simply showing up, for the sake of consistency. There was no intention other than "being consistent". This caused a lot of anxiety, and that feeling of getting no return for the input I was putting out there.
when I gave myself space to follow my flow: I felt depressed, less than. I felt like a failure. If there is this "playbook" of success, and it requires consistency, the second I'm not consistent, I felt like I was not doing my part. I felt that I was not cut out to be an entrepreneur because of my "lack of consistency"
The holy grail of "you need to be consistent to be successful" feeds on the hustle culture, and it also plays into the homogenized world - where we all act and do the same things - instead of focusing on leaning on our strengths and gifts.
What is the alternative?
To me the alternative is to conceptualize what consistency looks like to you in each aspect of life or business that you are looking for this...consistency.
Let's say, people suggest you should post 10 stories a day on Instagram, but this feels like a stretch, ask yourself: what does feel good to me?
Perhaps you'll post one story daily, or 3 stories per week: you'll find your flow.
The same goes when we're talking about managing your money, or even creating new habits.
Want to exercise more? Start with walking around the block once a day - this is already better than nothing.
Defining what consistency looks like to you is the best way to find your rhythm and release the pressure of doing what you "should be doing"
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