A long, long time ago in a land far, far away two brothers (Brother 1, Brother 2) were given land by their wise grandfather (King of the North). The wise King was going to choose his successor based on how they handled their newly gifted land and subjects.
Word soon spread of these two competing brothers, and dozens of young families looking for a new home ventured to this new land to become part of the Brothers’ new kingdom.
The arriving subjects were tired and hungry. The two brothers informed them that they would be feeding them in two separate dining halls each had constructed. The subjects could choose which Brother’s dining hall to dine in.
On the first night, as they were all hungry and as an opportunity to meet the two Brothers, the subjects would dine in each.
Room 1: Brother 1 invited them to his room and displayed an amazing feast the likes of which most had never seen before. It was massive and plentiful spread with every meat imaginable, the finest cheeses, beautiful bread, and delicious wine. They couldn’t believe their eyes when they walked into the room and saw the spread before them. “This brother MUST be our King. Look at how he treats us”, the subjects proclaimed as they looked over the sumptuous meal prepared.
Brother 1 looked on proudly, soaking in their admiration, proud of his great feat.
Room 2: Brother 2 had a very small, modest offering of a sandwich and some vegetables. His “feast” was no feast at all. He had a small ration for each family member that attended which would barely satisfy the subject’s healthy appetites. “This guy can never be our King. He offers us each a small plate of food while his brother offers us a feast”.
“I will provide a meal two times a day. At sunup and sundown. Nothing fancy and a limited supply for those who wanted to join me.” said Brother 2.
The subjects all laughed at Brother 2 and ran back to Brother 1’s dining hall where they ate until they couldn’t eat anymore. They applauded the first brother and chanted his name while he gleaned from ear to ear with pride for what he had done. They all told him how much better his feast was compared to his brother’s meager rations and said they cannot wait to see what he does next.
The next night at sunset, after a hard day’s work they all lined up outside Brother 1’s dining hall and eagerly awaited their feast. They were excited for a repeat of the amazing spread they were treated to the previous night. They pulled on the door handle and knocked on the door with no answer.
Hours later, the room was still closed with no sign of the brother. “He must be hard at work preparing our feast” they all rationalized. Another hour went by and there was no sign of the brother. Another hour went by, then another. Eventually, they gave up. Tired and hungry, they went to bed without any food.
The next day, starving, they again lined up at Brother 1’s dining hall, believing that there would surely be a feast awaiting them. Watching all of this happen from his own dining hall, Brother 2 greeted them and told them they were all welcome to join him for a small modest meal. “My room will have two modest meals a day”, reminded the second brother. “They will not be fancy or large, but they will always be here for those who want them at sunup and sundown every day.”
Begrudgingly, tired and hungry, the subjects went to Brother 2’s dining and took their rations without even a thank you to their “chef”. They left underwhelmed but fed.
The subjects continued to line up outside of Brother 1’s dining hall. Holding onto hope that the feast would reappear. again. Finally, on the 4th night, the doors to Brother 1’s opened as he apologized. He was exhausted from the first feast and needed to source and prepare amazing food for his next feast to make his subjects proud and to receive their applause again.
Once again, they cheered and chanted Brother 1’s name as he took his bow. They laughed and ate so much food they could barely walk home that night as they all fell in love with Brother 1 again and forgave him for disappearing on them for the previous three nights.
Over the course of the next week, Brother 1’s dining hall didn’t open up again. The subjects kept lining up and the door wouldn’t open. Eventually, as the families grew hungry, they started going to Brother 2, who ALWAYS provided modest meals twice per day.
The pattern persisted. Sporadically, and without warning, Brother 1 would unveil the most incredible feast. To Brother 1’s disappointment, the number of families partaking dwindled each time.
After weeks of the same pattern, the subjects stopped lining up outside Brother 1’s dining hall at all as they never knew when they would be let into the room.
They did know that Brother 2 was true to his word and did what he said he would do and fed them twice a day without fail. “It has never been fancy, but it’s always there when we need it” they all agreed.
The next time Brother 1 opened the door to unveil his feast, there were no more subjects standing outside waiting to get in. The subjects realized that Brother 1 was more focused on getting applause than simply feeding his people. He’d exhaust himself in bursts while producing the feast, then he’d have to wait until he was inspired and motivated to do it again.
They knew where they could get two meals a day and as much as it wasn’t a feast, it was consistent. They trusted the second brother more to take care of them as providing for them was what mattered to him. The second brother was loyal to the subjects and they became loyal to him.
“TRUST IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF HUMAN MOTIVATION.” -AMP Up1 Culture Values
Brother 2 was eventually crowned the King of the land as his subjects came to trust and rely on him as their leader. His grandfather, watching this from afar, gave him the land instead of his brother. The newly crowned King remained true to his word and nourished his loyal subjects every day while they built a great kingdom together. His subjects came to rely on him as their leader and respect him as their King.
When you rely on food for survival and you never know when you’re going to get that next feast, you will eventually stop relying on it. Knowing you’re going to get a few consistent “meals” each day gives us confidence, safety and builds trust. It removes what would otherwise be a constant stressor, allows you to plan your day, and avoids wasted time.
The intensity of an inconsistent feast will leave you full for the moment but always wondering when you’ll get it again. In business, as in life in general, focus on delivering modest “consistent meals” every day instead of delivering a sporadic “feast”.
Inconsistent bursts of energy and needing to constantly feel motivated to do the big task eventually lead to burnout. Your “subjects” will eventually stop trying to get into the room and follow the leader they know will be there when they need them most.
If you are seeking applause and admiration, you're doing it for the wrong reason. Be persistent and consistent and focus on the process and not the “goal”. It’s more sustainable. Be true to your word. Always do what you say you will do. That is leadership.
Who are you drafting onto your team for the long term?
I’ll take someone who shows up on time (consistently) and is coachable versus the unreliable rockstar every time. Consistency vs. Intensity.
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