What is a habit? Generally a habit is something you do or do not do repetitively. It can be as important to break a bad habit as it is to form a new good habit. Many experts have tips on how to accomplish this. Over time, I have found that it takes daily practice for a minimum of 30 days to own or disown a habit and another 60 days to place into your daily life so that you do not have to think about it at all - simply to do or not do something.
Frankly, I have learned to take this one
step at a time and work on one habit at a time to ensure long-term
success. I use Outlook to remind myself at the beginning, with daily
reminders, as well as sticky notes on a mirror if needed. You may want
to use a mobile note, call your number and leave a message or some other
method - simply make it one you will follow.
entrepreneurs know, you are responsible for many facets of your business
and may wear a
number of hats. Time becomes even more golden to you, so
when I ask that you put one more thing on your plate, I do not do so
lightly. The guides I suggest are critical to your long-term success.
Guide 1: Understanding.
When dealing with prospective clients, current clients or former
clients, practice understanding them, and then practice being
understood. Create dialogues, not monologues. Do not just listen; listen
for concerns. This involves active listening skills and patience with
what is being said and what is not. If this is an issue for you, I
suggest you find someone you are comfortable with and do some
role-playing, either in person, via Skype or telephone. If you have a
video camera or a camera on your computer, think about a real-live
situation and re-create it. You might be surprised at what your facial
expressions and voice actually bring out.
Guide 2: Values.
Each of us has strengths and weaknesses in this area. Take the time to
jot down your most important values and ask the question "Am I
practicing these consistently - and if not, why not?" This also means
avoiding gossip, reacting to situations, rather than quietly stating or
showing your value system and modeling your values, regardless of your
mood at the moment. This too requires patience and practice.
Guide 3: Improvements in yourself and others.
Recognize even the smallest effort in this area! We are human and fall
down. The secret is to get up, put on our big kid pants and keep working
on making things better. A personal case in point - I have been working
steadily toward keeping a neat desk and desk drawer. I took some photos
several days ago and know right where to find them to remind me of my
goal. Each day that I hold true to this goal, I find a way to give
myself a virtual pat on the back. At the end of 90 days I will reward
myself with something I have wanted but would not get for myself - ever.
Guide 4: Good Manners.
Learn to remember names. Ask rather than order. Acknowledge helpful
actions with thank you notes. Be Prompt. Names are a real struggle for
me; this will take more effort on my part. I have a drawer full of
unused note cards. I have established a goal of having an empty drawer
by the end of the year. At least two Mondays a month, I have scheduled
time in the morning to get notes done and mailed. Again, the point here
is to take action and reward yourself frequently.
Guide 5: Initiative.
Form the habit of doing more than expected for your clients; under
promise; over deliver; and be generous with positive feedback. I
recognize that you are in business to make money and many do more than
expected for their clients. What I talking about here is making the time
to do little things they would not expect - forwarding an article or
notice of a conference they might be interested in, or a publication you
think might help them.
Guide 6: Avoid People Pleasing.
Delete the word "try" from your vocabulary. When you mean yes, say
"yes". When you mean no, say "no". There are times when a client may
make an unreasonable request and not even be aware. This is when you can
suggest an alternative that hopefully they will accept. If there is no
common ground, then you simply have to say "no" and be prepared for any
consequences. Especially if you are new to business, this can be a very
scary proposition. However, learning how to handle this appropriately is
Guide 7: Physical and Mental Health.
Take responsibility for raising your energy. Use humor and prayer or
meditation for those things we may not ever understand. Your face
radiates your image, inside and out. Smile! I have adopted a habit of
meditation when I first enter my home office each day, leaving my
computer off until I am finished. This has taken self-discipline and
placing materials where I can easily access them; it is amazing how much
calmer I am at the conclusion of this exercise.
Please feel free to share these with other entrepreneurs, especially
those who are new to the world of being in business for themselves.