Consistency, capacity, and impact. What if I told you achieving your business goals is within reach if you’re mindful of three simple things? This value-packed episode helps you work toward your goals every day while creating the legacy you want most.
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Jen McFarland ditched her comfy C-suite tech project management job in pursuit of freedom. Jen’s goal is to help business leaders like you vet ideas, take ownership of their projects, and incorporate digital marketing from day one.
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Transcript: Why Consistency, Capacity & Impact Are Your Secret Sauce
Hello and welcome to the Women Conquer Business Podcast. I’m your host, Jen McFarland. After six weeks of amazing interviews, I’m back in the saddle solo, and today we’re going to talk about legacy. And I’m going to give you the secret sauce for how to build exactly what you want. [music]
My name is Jen McFarland. I help business owners like you lead, plan, and execute their projects for maximum impact. Women-lead businesses receive less funding, yet our businesses are more successful. As consumers, we hold the purse strings. It’s time for us to take on the business world. Welcome to Women Conquer Business. [music]
Jen’s Guest Appearance on She Breaks Thru
Welcome back to the show. Before we dive deep into today’s topic, I wanted to share with you my recent guest appearance on the She Breaks Thru Podcast. I’ll put the episode link in the show notes for How To Achieve Your Business Goals with Jen McFarland.
I highly encourage that you listen to that episode as well as all of the other things that Thembi has going on. She’s an amazing woman doing fabulous things in Africa, and she’ll be a guest on that upcoming episode. So you’ll definitely want to get to know her better. Again, that’s the She Breaks Through Podcast and episode 47 is with me, Jen McFarland.
What’s Happening on Today’s Show
On today’s show, we’re going to talk about consistency, capacity, and impact and how these three things work together either to help you achieve your goals or not and how these three things work together to build a legacy or not.
What I hope you’ll get from this episode are these three things are keys to helping you move your projects forward, achieve your goals, and create the most impact in the world regardless of what kind of impact you are hoping to generate for yourself and for others.
Consistency: It’s Not Just at the Gym
So let’s start with consistency.
A lot of times when we talk about consistency in the world, it’s mentioned around things like parenting. Whether you’re a dog-mom or a kid-mom, consistency really matters because otherwise, people don’t know what you’re doing. Your dog won’t listen to you. Your kids won’t listen to you. They might not listen to you anyway, but if you’re consistent with your messaging, they know what you mean, if you get the drift.
We also hear a lot about consistency in the diet and exercise industry. Eat better on a consistent basis. You’ll feel better on a consistent basis. Go to the gym three times a week. You’ll become more fit. By the same token, go to the gym one time. You don’t get a lot of results. Eat a healthy meal one time. You might not feel better over the long haul. Get it?
We know these things inherently because, in other industries, it’s talked about with us all the time.
The same is true when you’re building a business. If you want to be successful, be consistent. Consistency is really tied to goals, and it involves a certain amount of courage. Peggy Noonan said, “Part of courage is simple consistency.” I really like what this has to say because following your dreams, going after your biggest goals takes a great amount of courage.”
And it takes a lot of consistency. Why? Because if you’re not consistent, you can’t expect to achieve your goals. Whether that goal is running in a 5K, being a better parent, or building a business that’s successful however you define success. It takes courage to do these things. It takes courage to put yourself out there time and time again.
It takes courage to put your stake in the ground and say, “This is who I am. This is what I do,” and then do it every single day for a long period of time.
So what’s your why when it comes to consistency for your business? Well, as much as I don’t like talking about life as an employee, I’m going to flip the script a little bit for you, business owners [laughter].
Most of you have had a job, right? So if you had a job and it provided you with clarity around what you’re supposed to be doing every day, what it meant to be successful in your job, these things are consistency. And the same is true when you are a business owner. Part of consistency is the ability to measure success. If you’re not consistent in what you do, then you have nothing to measure.
You really don’t know if you are going toward your goals because you’re kind of flailing around a little bit. You’re changing course so much that it’s really hard to tell if you’re tracking toward the eventual goal. It’s hard to say if the reason you have 20 people going to your website every day is because you did a Facebook Live if you only did one or if [laughter] it’s because you did a speaking engagement because you only did one.
What it means is getting out there and being consistent in whatever it is that you would like to do. If you want to have a podcast, be consistent about the episodes that you do. If you want to be a speaker, be consistent about your speaking engagements. If you want to help more clients, be consistent about getting out there in networking or talking to people on Facebook, or both because these are things that you can measure.
As much as people don’t like to track goals, I find measurement is a huge key to seeing how much these things are paying off.
You can’t always be intuitive and feel into whether or not something is working or not. If the payoff is immediate, maybe. But so many times, we’re working toward goals and is an iterative process.
It means that every step of the way, we might be getting some small gains, but we don’t know that if we’re not keeping track, if we don’t know how many people are going to our website, if we don’t know how much money we have in the bank [laughter], if we don’t know how many customers we have, if we don’t keep track of the feedback we’re getting after a speaking engagement or a meet-up or whatever it is that you’re doing out in the world. Keeping track in measurement is a huge part of that. And so is accountability.
Why Accountability is a Big Deal
Accountability is a huge part of consistency. You are much more effective in any mastermind groups or working with coaches or any accountability groups that you’re already in if you have consistency around what you’re building.
If you can check in with your accountability partners and say yes. I did X, Y, Z again this week. This is what I’m seeing, or I didn’t do all of these things. Please hold me accountable to that. If you’re doing different things all the time, it’s really hard.
You can’t really be a good leader and have accountability if it’s all scattershot all the time, and if you have employees, it’s the same thing. You can’t measure their progress, and you can’t really hold them accountable because you’re changing course all the time. Part of achieving our goals is about being consistent. Part of being relevant in our field is about being consistent.
If people don’t know what you’re doing and they’re confused, it’s hard for you to stay on message and it’s hard for you to build up relevancy.
People like to see a predictable flow of information. They want to know what they’re getting.
They want a consistent message. They want to know if I see you and I talk to you about your business, I know what I’m going to be getting. So that means that when you are building your projects that are connected to your high-end goals, because, I’m sorry, you can’t achieve your goals without projects. Projects are what drives you toward these goals, and your projects should be directly related to any goals that you’re setting.
So the biggest question that you have to ask yourself when you’re embarking on something, and I would say particularly in the realm of marketing or in the realm of doing something new [laughter], probably the biggest question you want to ask yourself before you get started is, what do you do after the excitement wears off?
What do you do after the excitement wears off?
And what that means is, what do you do after you go to the gym for three days and then you’re like, “Well, I’m kind of busy”? Do you pick up your stuff and go to the gym anyway? Or do you let these other priorities get in the way? And the same thing is true in your business.
You’re going to start something new. It’s going to be exciting. What do you do when it’s not exciting anymore? What do you do after that initial bump in productivity when you start to see results and then it levels off? Because it will level off, but that leveling off is still an increase over where you were before.
And when you stop doing those things, it’s pretty easy to fall back just like if you don’t go to the gym for a while. It’s hard to stay in shape. But that’s directly related to capacity, and we’ll talk about capacity after this. [music]
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This is Why Capacity Matters
I feel like we’ve talked a lot about consistency.
The reality is, consistency is nothing without thinking about capacity. Your consistency must not exceed your capacity. What does that mean?
Capacity doesn’t seem to get talked about enough in the business context. It does get talked about in other areas like nonprofits and the public sectors, but I haven’t found it talked about as much in terms of building a business.
I find capacity to be– well, it’s one of the most important things of any project that I’ve worked on, and I build capacity and sustainability into every project that I work on. It’s part of the model that I work on with clients, it’s part of the model that I’ve worked on leading massive, big projects. And I’ll tell you why.
Sustainability doesn’t always mean what we think it means.
A lot of times when we talk about if something is sustainable or not, it’s in terms of the environment. Recycling and creating a sustainable environment, meaning the outer world. The same is true for the inner world and the business world.
Mary Parker Follett said, “Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power, but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led.”
You see, most of the time when we talk about capcacity in business, we’re talking about raising other people up. But what if you’re a solopreneur or a small business owner and it’s really about raising yourself up? What if capacity is about having the physical and mental power to fulfill what you consistently need to fulfill in order to achieve your goals?
You see, most of the time, that’s what capcacity means for people in the small-to-medium-sized business realm. So let me explain. I’m going to tell the story of rock, pebbles, and sand. Right? I think we’ve all, especially if you’re on social media, I think we’ve all heard one or a different version of that. But as I tell the story this time, I want you to think about it in terms of your business and in terms of how full your cup is. Meaning, are you living your life working on your business, targeting towards your goals in a consistent way without exceeding your capacity?
Overcapacity: Rocks, Pebbles & Sand Analogy
So a philosophy professor stood up in front of his class with an empty mayonnaise jar. He filled the jar to the top with large rocks and asked the students if it was full. A student said, “Yeah. It’s totally full.”
So the professor then added some small pebbles to the jar, shook it up a little bit, so the pebbles fit in around and the large rocks and said, “Is it full now?” And the students said, “Yeah. Jar’s full now.”
Then the professor proceeded to pour sand into the jar. Filled it up to the brim, filling up any remaining empty space. And the students agreed that the jar was completely full. See, and usually, this is where the story goes to the lesson, but I’m going to insert my own little bit in here.
Because as small business owners, I think that we then pour water into that jar. So that we can fill it up completely. Because there’s still space between those grains of sand. And fill the jar with as much water as we can. And then we keep filling it until it overflows. But see, the truth is that when you put the big rocks in the jar, those are your most important projects. Those are your big hairy goals. I love using the word hairy there because it kind of gives you an image, right?
Your biggest goals are your biggest rocks.
Those are the projects that you need to be working on. Those are the projects you need to focus on.
The pebbles are the things in your life that matter, that also support the big rocks. So these are all of the supporting things that you need to do to work and fulfill those big rocks. But it’s also your life.
Friends, job, work, customers, your family. Those are the pebbles. The sand is the filler. Those are the things that tend to take over, right? If you’re spending all your time sitting on social media, without that being part of your goal for getting customers– because if you’re just chatting it up on social, that’s not a targetted approach to social to get more customers. It’s a time waster. Just like watching TV is a time waster. It doesn’t really help you get anything accomplished. Whether it’s things in your life or the big goals that you want to achieve.
I added the water to the metaphor because as small business owners, we often overfill our mayonnaise jars. We add water to the mix so that everything becomes muddied, almost like cement. And then we can’t even reach into the jar and get anything out. That’s when we get into the stress realm and overdoing it. That’s when the capacity is completely maxed out.
And you can’t really work on everything or anything.
It’s that state of overwhelm that I think so many people get into and get into that rat race and hamster wheel of doing the same thing over and over and over again to the point of exhaustion.
Which is also, incidentally, when you get bitter and tired. And that’s not consistency either. When you’re over capacity, you are not at your best.
And when you’re not at your best, your consistency falters. And when your consistency falters, you’re not reaching your goals. But it’s also not sustainable. You see, capacity is about creating a system that you can successfully do year over year.
It means filling your teams and your services and your processes in ways that not only support your goals, but also, support you. That also support your family and that also don’t overstress you to the point that your cup is full and running over down the street and you find yourself crashed out every single weekend, over-tired, and just zoning out in front of the TV, not talking to anyone. And it happens. I’ve done it.
I think that we all have done it.
Capacity means when you’re working on your projects, can this be done successfully, year over year?
Or if you’re working in sprints, like a 90-day Sprint, which is one of the things that I recommend, can this be done successfully for 90 days? And that might mean and then, also, another 90 days and another 90 days after that.
The next question with that is, “How do I know? How do I know if I’m over capacity?”
This means tuning in. Tuning in with yourself, tuning in with your team, tuning in with how you’re feeling, checking in with your family. It means knowing if you’re getting resentful. Because if you’re in that space of exhaustion and being resentful, it’s almost impossible to be consistent. And that will definitely affect your legacy because that’s what people see.
That’s the message that you are projecting. So the challenge is to maximize your efforts consistently towards your goals in a way that doesn’t exceed your capacity to achieve them. Guess what that means?
It might mean that you need to be a little bit more methodical. It means you may need to stretch out your goals a little bit longer. But I would always rather see somebody be successful than not. You want your projects to succeed.
Why? Because if your projects don’t succeed, you’re not having the greatest impact on the world. And the third point is impact.
It All Comes Back to Impact and Legacy
What kind of impact do you want to leave on the world? What’s your legacy? What is your purpose for being in business? What is the purpose of all of these goals and making sure that they are achievable and don’t exceed your capacity? What’s the purpose of all that? What’s your legacy? What is the impact that you want to leave on the world? These are important questions. And impact is not something that gets talked a lot about in business.
When you look at business impact, it comes out as business impact analysis. It’s a process that identifies and evaluates the potential effects of natural and manmade events on business operations. That is not what we are talking about here. We’re talking about your legacy. We’re talking about the impact that you want to have on the world and on others. Or even for yourself because, honestly, being wealthy, it leaves an impact. It leaves a legacy. And if that’s your sole driver, good on you.
Make that happen.
The reality is is that impact is success however you define it.
We’ve had previous guests talk about different methodologies for identifying success for how you define success.
Elizabeth Edwards said, “The days of our lives for all of us are numbered. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact on the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious.”
I think that for most of us as women entrepreneurs, we work with purpose. We work on impact. We care about legacy. Whether that’s a humanitarian impact, meaning you want to make enough money to make donations to support a cause or whether your legacy is to be a Maestro, meaning you want to be the best ever at what you’re doing.
You want everyone to look at you and say, “She’s the best. She’s the best. She knows her stuff.”
That’s a legacy. That’s the impact, the imprint of what you are leaving on the world.
And it’s the result of your consistency and your capacity to be consistent. Your capacity to lead teams and services and processes. Your consistency of measuring and being accountable. All of these things roll up into your impact on the world. It’s that you can be the best ever, at whatever your thing is.
So when it comes to your projects, the questions you can ask are what am I leaving behind? What is the end result here? What is it that I want? And am I getting it as a result of all the work that I am doing? Because if you’re not getting, if you’re not connecting your goals, sustainability and legacy, you’re missing some pieces and you might feel unfulfilled or overwhelmed or like you’re just not getting things off the ground. Thank you for listening. [music]
Are you ready?
Hey ladies, I know you’re working so hard to grow your business, a business that aligns with your vision and your values. A business that supports your lifestyle. And I know it’s been a bumpy ride sometimes. I see it all the time.
Women overspending on shiny objects and magic pills because they’re tired of not seeing results. Business decisions based on short term gains without a critical eye toward the future. Most heartbreaking of all, women who walk away because it’s just too damn hard.
The good news is, you’re not alone. You have support all around you. If you’re ready to take joyful action on your biggest business goals, if you need strategy, accountability and a path to get you exactly where you want to go, let me know because I’m here to support you as a consultant and strategist.
You can fill out a quick application to work together at jenmcfarland.com/ready. I’ve opened up just a few spots over the next couple of months for clients who are ready to make a move. It just takes a few minutes at jenmcfarland.com/ready. [music]