I’ve referred to myself at times as a serial entrepreneur. Since becoming self-employed I have tried my and at a few things. Some have been successful; some not so much. One business that I have really enjoyed besides Storehouse is Mary Kay. Yes, I did say Mary Kay. “How in the world do you reconcile that?” I’ve had to answer that question more times than you know. It used to bother me to explain why I became an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay. People just didn’t get it. The truth is that Mary Kay appeals to other sides of my personality that accounting just doesn’t reach. What I’ve found over the years however, is that they are not as foreign to one another as you might think. Many of the values I have learned from one business readily transfer to the other. One of those values is the habit of consistency.
In a recent Mary Kay success meeting, the unit director was explaining to the consultants in the group how little things done consistently could help them reach a big goal. The lesson was regarding sales and production. What she was teaching them is how placing a minimum order of a certain amount each week can easily get them to a certain goal by the end of the fiscal quarter. Some of the consultants bucked at the idea because making a minimum order every week will increase shipping cost over the long run. The point that they were missing is that placing a minimum order each week establishes a habit of consistency. Having a goal to place an order each week means you need to have minimum sales each week. Having a sales minimum each week means you need to contact or acquire a certain number of customers each week to meet that goal. Being intentional about and consistent with the sales process will get you where you want to be. Every week you have a win. Every week you have accomplished a goal making the entire sales process a lot easier and a lot less intimidating. Just a little effort can go a long way.
This is the same process we use when helping families and businesses reach their financial goals. Whether establishing an emergency fund, saving for retirement, or getting out of debt, the process is the same. Somewhere in time we lost the value of consistent effort. We have become accustomed to instant gratification, and therefore we look for instant results in everything we do. This leads to frustration and a feeling of failure when things don’t work out as we expected, when we expected. Some of our financial goals are so big that it seems we’ll never reach them. I’ve heard it said, however that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Consistently putting money away in a saving account will increase the chance that you’ll actually have money in that account when you need it. Consistently making additional payments on that debt will guarantee that it will get paid off. Consistently sending money to your financial adviser will guarantee that one day you will be able to retire. How much money you’ll have in savings, or retirement or how quickly that debt will be paid will depend on how much you contribute to those causes. The truth is, however, that whatever your effort is, it will pay off if you’re consistent.
We tend to look at finance and money matters as though it’s a simple math equation. Obviously if you add money to an account, you’ll have more of it. That’s only partially true. The problem is that the solution is not in knowing what to do. The solution is in doing what needs to be done and that’s where most people fail. They know what to do, but they fail to do it. The thought process is often that because they do not have a significant amount of money to contribute toward debt payment or savings, they don’t do anything. Sometime later they find that they are no closer to reaching to their goal and frustration sets in. Success is found in the day-to-day activity of doing little things along the way.
If you’re finding that you have goals you’re not reaching, start developing the habit of consistency. No matter what happens make at least the minimum effort required to get you where you want to be on a consistent basis. Once you start seeing those small wins, you’ll find ways to achieve bigger ones.