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chronic inconsistency

Jim Collins is one of my favorite authors on business and leadership.  I’ve been reviewing my notes from a talk he gave at the 2012 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit.  He was sharing principles based on his book, “Great by Choice.”

This line from my notes jumped out at me: “The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change but is chronic inconsistency.”

For the most part, few of us wake up and decide to be mediocre.  It’s not a typical life aspiration — or shouldn’t be!

But when we allow chronic inconsistency to creep into our lives, our routines, our families, our work environment — we are allowing ourselves to become mediocre.  Everyone may miss a deadline here or there.  We all make mistakes and occasionally exercise poor judgment.  Welcome to the human race.

Mediocre people, however, are chronically inconsistent.  They are known by spurts and bursts.  What is predictable about them is their unpredictability.

Chronic inconsistency.  The mere thought of being that way scares me.  I don’t want to be inconsistent, much less chronically inconsistent.

To move away from mediocrity, one must move towards intentionality — become purposeful about upholding values, making decisions, and following through.

Unlike chronic arthritis, there’s no over-the-counter pill you can purchase to make you more consistent.  A good electronic calendar, an app like Evernote, or just an old-fashioned sticky note might help.  But, in the end, it boils down to this: do you want to be known as consistent or inconsistent?