Environment is Outcome

In personal development circles, there are two schools of thought on what creates success.

One school of thought says “consistency creates success”; The other says “intensity creates success”.

I reckon environment plays a bigger part in success than either consistency or intensity.

If intensity is about tilling the fields and planting the crops… And consistency is about watering the garden daily… Environment is about making sure the weather and soil are going to suit whatever you’re planning on planting.

This was my biggest lesson for 2020.

Living in Melbourne, through two rounds of strict lockdowns lasting nearly 6 of the past 12 months, I didn’t expect the restrictions to have such an impact on me.

After all, I was designed for this! Yeah, I love to travel. But I’m also a bit of a homebody. I’ve worked from home (with a remote team) for most of the past 25 years. And I can happily go long enough without speaking that I forget how to form sentences the next time I pick up the phone.

But it’s the little things – quiet weekday walks through deserted parks, journalling and planning in my Moleskine at a café, the occasional catch-up with interesting and inspiring friends, or a drive to the ocean to clear my head – that have helped keep me sane and productive throughout my career.

Without knowing it, I had created a fertile environment for my own success – where outcomes grew naturally… Or it felt like floating in a river, as the current pushed me forward.

When the lockdowns were brought into effect, my quiet and well-balanced life fell out of sync. Quiet parks became noisy. My work-from-home sanctuary became a micro co-working space with my partner. Cafés shut. Drives to the beach were off-limits. People existed only on computer screens. And I struggled. I thrashed and battled and swam against the tide for as long as I could – but eventually, I tired myself out.

No amount of intensity or consistency can overcome an environment that’s working against an outcome. [N.B. If you want to pull on this thread, consider the nature of “privilege” as an element of “environment”.]

As things have returned to a semblance of normality, I’ve been particularly thankful for my walks, my drives, my cafés and thinking time, and my quiet moments. And I’ve consciously created more of these moments.

Instead of a New Years resolution, I’ve been conscious about the environments I create for myself in 2021 – and how they impact (positively or negatively) the outcomes I want to achieve.

I’m also thinking about the environments I create for others – in my marketing, for my clients, and beyond.

And I share this with you in the hope that you become conscious about the features of the environment you’re in – and the elements that serve, or sabotage the outcomes you want to achieve.