Thank you to author and leadership expert John Maxwell for the following story.

Let’s say your goal is to chop down this tree.

What would be your strategy?  One strategy would be to develop the value of consistency.  What that would look like is for you to take 5 swings a day at that tree – every day, and I think we could all agree that eventually, that tree is coming down!

5 swings a day – every day. 

Now, if your goal is to chop down the tree foremost in this picture, it might take you several days, maybe even a week or two.  But if your goal was to chop down one of the smaller, skinnier trees in the photo’s background, it would certainly take you much less time.  Regardless,

5 swings a day – every day. 

Now, what do I mean by every day?  EVERY DAY!  I have had this discussion with my students.  “But Dr. Buyer, surely you don’t mean Saturday?  Saturday’s gameday!”

Every day.

“But Dr. Buyer, surely you don’t mean Sunday?  Sunday is the day of rest!”

EVERY day.

“But Dr. Buyer, my birthday is next Tuesday.  Surely you don’t expect me to work on my birthday?”


Here my friends lies the difference between excellence and mediocrity.  Consistency means every day!  Inconsistency means missing some days here and there.  If you want to chop down that tree at a high level of excellence, it will take consistency.

Now ask yourself, what is your tree?  What big goal do you have that you want to accomplish?  Once you have your goal, ask yourself what it will take to achieve it.  One very effective way is to take 5 swings a day – every day at your goal.  If you can commit to that and develop the value of consistency, eventually your tree will fall down too.