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A Marine Corps veteran who teaches people to be mentally strong says the biggest killer of success is a daily choice people make

Shana Lebowitz
Andrew Wittman

Andrew Wittman

 

  • A surefire way to sabotage your success is to act inconsistently.
  • That's according to Marine Corps veteran and mental toughness coach Andrew Wittman, author of the forthcoming "Seven Secrets of Resilience for Parents."
  • As a parent, it's important to keep your promises and enforce consequences. As a manager, it's important for your behavior to be predictable.

As a mental toughness coach, Andrew Wittman has seen one thing sabotage too many clients' efforts to be physically and mentally stronger: inconsistency.

He describes the pattern in his forthcoming book, "Seven Secrets of Resilience for Parents": "Doing well for a few weeks, then coasting … then feeling bad enough to start doing well again for a few weeks, then backsliding some more." In most cases, he writes, his client "finds themselves in worse shape than at the beginning."

Wittman, who is also a Marine Corps veteran, former police officer, and former federal agent, said consistency is especially important for people trying to be better parents.

It's important both to keep promises you make to your kids and to enforce the consequences of your kids' bad behavior. And it's important to consistently listen and be present — no matter what else is going on in your life.

Wittman likens parenting to workplace management, in the sense that consistency is key to both. Parents and managers who act like "Jekyll and Hyde," he writes, are typically the least effective.

Andrew Wittman

Andrew WittmanWittman's observations are backed by research, at least when it comes to bosses.

A 2016 study published in the Academy of Management Journal found that unpredictability in managers is even worse for employees' health and well-being than consistent unfairness. And Google research suggests that the most important trait of a successful leader is predictability.

Just because you had a rough commute and a fight with your partner doesn't give you license to lash out at your team. The converse is true too, according to Wittman: "The fact that your boss was a jerk and you had a bad day at work doesn't excuse you taking your frustrations out on your spouse and children."

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