Inconsistency, Hypocrisy . . . or something else?

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Some time ago I was coaching a small business owner who was frustrated over reaching a standstill in growth and profits. She had a plan for how she wanted her business to look; but, she had forgotten about self-care—growing and developing herself before growing and developing her business. She didn’t see the discrepancy until I pointed it out to her. Then I took a bold step and said, “You first need to become what you want your business to be.” Challenged, but relieved to having discovered the gap, she whole-heartedly agreed and committed to create a plan that would help her grow so her business could benefit.
This is similar to a person who requires certain behavior from someone else, yet they themselves are not willing to give what they demand. One woman complained that a co-worker was extremely unfriendly. “She never even says ‘hi’ to me,” she lamented to a friend. The friend wisely inquired, “When was the last time you said ‘hi’ to her?” “I never have,” she admitted. “I’m waiting for her to speak to me first. She’s worked here longer and should know better.”
What is it about human nature that our expectations of others often exceed the expectations in ourselves? Is it inconsistency, hypocrisy . . . or something else? I believe it was Shakespeare who said, “Consistency, thou art a jewel.” Imagine how much more valuable our relationships—our businesses—our families—our communities—would become if we put ourselves on the changing pad before we put others on the chopping block for failing to do, say, or become what we are not.
Perhaps then we could modify Shakespeare’s quote to read, “Consistency, thou art a jewel. Duplicity, thou art a fool.”


  • ·         Be honest – What expectations do you have of others that you have not met yourself?
  • ·         Who do you trust who could point out possible inconsistencies so you can become a better person?