Successful individuals and teams maintain a predictable rhythm to achieve their goals. This rhythm, or cadence, ensures they stay on track and swiftly realign when needed. Here, we explore how crafting separate cadences for daily tasks and special projects can propel you towards success with purpose and efficiency.

Three conditions

In life, we’re constantly in one of three states: moving forward, staying stagnant, or drifting backward. A year from now, your progress will reflect decisive action or drifting tendencies. Moving ahead relies on accurate thinking, deliberate decisions, and disciplined action. Conversely, drifting results from distraction, lack of discipline, and poor habits. A successful year hinges on advancing through thoughtful decisions and disciplined actions, while regression stems from distractions and undisciplined habits.

The power of cadence and time

Decisiveness and drifting are shaped by two main factors: your cadence of daily, weekly, and monthly activities, and the passage of time, which compounds the effects of your cadence. While time remains beyond control, you have significant influence over your cadence—the rhythm of your actions and those of your team. This rhythm settles into patterns reflecting daily, weekly, and monthly behavior, creating a cadence unique to each individual or group. Notably, all individuals and organizations possess a cadence, whether consciously chosen or not, and the crucial question lies in whether this cadence propels progress or fosters drift. Unfortunately, many fail to deliberately select their cadence, instead allowing natural rhythms to dictate their course. Recognizing the power of conscious cadence management is pivotal in steering towards desired outcomes, rather than passively drifting away from them.

This is where people and teams who are highly successful on a consistent basis separate themselves from their peers. They actively pursue a cadence that is tied to the key results they want to generate. They are deliberate about the rhythms they create and maintain with their actions, using formal tools and structures to better ensure that a cadence they choose becomes an ingrained habit.

Ultimately, there are three cadences—green line, amber line, and red line—that you or your team can potentially find itself in, as shown in Exhibit 1.

  • In the green line cadence, you are swimming—positively and deliberately.
  • In the amber line cadence, you are floating—conserving energy and looking to play it safe.
  • In the red line cadence, you are sinking—slowly but certainly, even if it’s not immediately obvious.

At the outset of any endeavor, distinguishing between the red and green lines may seem insignificant, with time appearing abundant. However, as months pass, the gap between these lines widens. Failing to adhere to the green line results in drifting further from potential progress. Conversely, each moment spent on the green line signifies purposeful advancement. Time compounds the direction—whether forward on the green line or backward on the red line. The key lies in maintaining your cadence, and that of your group if applicable, as close to the green line as possible. Acknowledge that occasional deviations below the green line are inevitable. When they occur, take corrective measures and practice self-forgiveness. Conversely, when you surpass the green line, reinforce it with action and celebrate achievements. Over time, this cadence transforms into habit, reducing volatility and narrowing the wave bands, ensuring most of your time is spent moving forward on the green line of progress.

Set your goals

As noted, you can—and indeed should—choose the rhythm of your path. Clearly, the green-line cadence is where you want to be if you seek to achieve big goals and co-elevate a team, you’re on or that you lead.

But to accomplish that, you first need to get clear on your goals so that you can design a green-line cadence that is tied directly to those desired outcomes. You also must understand what goes into that cadence so you know if you’re setting yourself up for success—as well as what goes into a red-line cadence so you will notice if you begin to drift and go backward.

Create your cadence

Your cadence acts as a tool for productivity and self-accountability, ensuring tasks are completed efficiently. Similarly, within a team setting, it fosters motivation and accountability among members. Cadences need not be complex to be effective; typically, they fall into two categories: day-to-day activities and one-time projects. For day-to-day tasks, establish a cadence and maintain it consistently. Conversely, each one-time project requires its own cadence due to its unique characteristics, such as time frame, budget, and outcomes. To determine an effective cadence, consider questions like desired monthly results, essential actions, time allocation, involved individuals, and specific activities or meetings. Reflecting on past rhythms and envisioning an ideal one can aid in establishing suitable cadences. With straightforward cadences, the majority of day-to-day activities and one-time projects can be efficiently managed.

Measure progress

Once you have clarity about your goals and understand what a green-line cadence would look like, it’s time to begin measuring your progress along that line. Progress tracking can be done on a very simple positive/negative scale. Each day, your cadence (and/or the group’s cadence) will move you toward your goals (swimming), keep you stationary (floating) or let you drift away from your goals (sinking). That means you can rate every day as either a green-line, amber-line or red-line day. At the end of each month, you can add up the number of days in each category to see where you are on the path.

Of course, the goal is to spend most of the time swimming in the right direction. Each month, celebrate the wins, catch the lessons, make the changes and step into the next month. It is all about progress—and every small step toward green is progress.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: This article was published by the VFO Inner Circle, a global financial concierge group working with affluent individuals and families and is distributed with its permission. Copyright 2022 by AES Nation, LLC.

This report is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute a solicitation to purchase any security or advisory services. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. An investment in any security involves significant risks and any investment may lose value. Refer to all risk disclosures related to each security product carefully before investing. Homer Smith is an investment advisor representative of Konvergent Wealth Partners. Konvergent Wealth Partners and Homer Smith are not affiliated with AES Nation, LLC. AES Nation, LLC is the creator and publisher of the VFO Inner Circle Flash Report. Investment advice offered through Integrated Partners, doing business as Konvergent Wealth Partners, a registered investment advisor. Integrated Partners does not provide legal/tax/mortgage advice or services. Please consult your legal/tax advisor regarding your specific situation.