Consistency is Key
In a few months, I will celebrate my 5th year in public accounting. Most of the classmates and colleagues I started with came, saw, were conquered and retreated to another career. For a speech competition in the 11th grade, I quoted Aristotle’s, “We are what we repeatedly do; therefore excellence is then not an act, but a habit.” Well, I didn’t win the competition, but the quote still resonates with me.
Personally, “we are what we repeatedly do” means that we are personified by our most consistent acts. For example, friends and family were quite aware I didn’t pay attention to time and would be consistently late. I was what I repeatedly did, not timely. I didn’t consider this a problem until I realized how project oriented public accounting is and so I would find myself either rushing to meet a deadline or failing to meet the expected/communicated deadlines. To fix my tardiness and timeliness, when invited to an event, I began to find out exactly when I needed to arrive. When setting a deadline, I would discuss the expectations with the others before confirming the expected due date. Then, I would start with the event or deadline and plan backwards from there to ensure I do everything needed to be on time. Now I’m the first person to arrive for dinner reservations. For instance, my friends have told me to be somewhere at 7 pm, when in reality they meant 7:30, but I’ve found myself sitting there at 6:45 looking for everyone. Additionally, I haven’t been nearly as stressed as I was before with work deadlines. We are what we repeatedly do, so if we want to be excellent, we should do excellent things.
Fun fact, Google says it actually takes 21 days to break a habit and 66 days to form a habit. According to Aristotle, if we want to be excellent at something, it must be a habit. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we make habits by doing things consistently. I encourage newer team members to make good personal and professional habits at the beginning of their career. If they are consistent earlier on when not much is expected of them, it is easier to maintain once they have more demands. Plus, according to Aristotle, excellent habits make you an excellent person. Now, my only question is, how do I approach my current workout routine? Do I break my habit of not working out by doing so consistently for 21 days or do I form a new habit by working out consistently for 66 days? Thoughts?!