“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude.”
—Colin Powell, 65th United States Secretary of State
Go back in time and take a look at your report cards from your days at school. How were your grades, what were your favorite subjects? Where did you intentionally pursue and achieve levels of excellence?
How have things been going for you in your personal and professional worlds since those days? What would your report card look like today, given the many roles you play in your various communities?
In what areas and in what ways have you developed the habit of pursuing excellence in matters both big and small?
What are a few areas of your life in which an adjustment of both attitude and effort would make the biggest difference and help you achieve big things?
“All habits serve you in some way — even the bad ones — which is why you repeat them.”
Atomic Habits by James Clear is a big success, with about 30,000 Amazon 4 or 5 star ratings. The book explores tiny changes we can make that can lead to remarkable results.
Being mindful and aware of our habits — both good and bad — is a key place to begin. Until we see that there is an obvious — or sometimes obscure — payoff or benefit that serves us in some way, we are destined to repeat them.
Please purchase Clear’s book, or check out its wisdom by exploring some of the excellent YouTube videos or book summaries available.
Also check out Clear’s 3-2-1 Thursday newsletter in which he shares three ideas, two quotes, and one question to ponder.
His motto for the newsletter is “Working to deliver the most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”
“Let’s work together to produce alternative solutions to our differences that we both recognize are better than the ones either you or I produced initially.”
—Stephen Covey, 20th Century American author, educator, and speaker
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books. I have read and re-read it many times. Over the years, I’ve discovered its wisdom and brilliance goes deeper and becomes even more relevant.
Habit Number Six, SYNERGIZE, points to the combining or coordination of the activities of two or more agents to produce a joint effect greater than the sum of their separate parts.
Where have you seen examples of synergy in your communities during this past year?
Where have you seen examples of the opposite, where groups appear to be divided or even at war with one another?
Where, how, can, and will you choose to take a synergistic leadership role to bring people together to fulfill a worthy purpose?
“You can only untie one knot at a time.”
Image from Unsplash by Joshua Hoehne
Each morning I lace up my New Balance sneakers to take my 45-minute walk. Since the beginning of the pandemic, walking has become my go-to form of exercise, and a key for me to reduce stress and maintain my sanity.
The act of tying my shoes to the proper tightness occurs habitually. Moments later I’m off into the great outdoors with arms and legs in unison. Taking in the sights and sounds, practicing gratitude and greeting my fellow walkers are bonuses.
When I untie my shoes upon my return, it is pretty common to experience a knot in one or both laces. Although I experience some frustration due to the delay, I am also thankful for my opposable thumbs and the level of dexterity needed to release the knots.
Where are you currently experiencing a few knotty areas in your life?
How can you more patiently untie them, one at a time, as you navigate your day?
“Laws are never as effective as habits.”
—Adlai Stevenson II, 20th Century Governor of Illinois
Image from Unsplash by Unman Yousaf
To what degree do you see yourself as a law-abiding citizen? Take a moment to examine the laws and some of the “do’s and don’ts” that influence and govern your household, organizations, and communities.
How do you feel when any form of authority tries to enforce any particular law?
Given our current pandemic, how are you and others viewing social distancing efforts and the wearing of masks?
We all love our freedom and the ability to choose our own behaviors guided by our values. In groups and organizations that have empowering cultures, it is the sharing of these values and principles that guide the norms and habits of its members.
Where and how could you and others in your various communities be even more effective by encouraging better habits and enforcing fewer laws?
“We do not appreciate inertia’s power over us.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, American leadership coach and author
Image from Unsplash by The Creative Exchange
Inertia is the tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged. With the social distancing, stay-at-home guidelines and other efforts to fight COVID-19, our world and our lives slowed down considerably.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Consider your vocational efforts, eating habits, sleep schedule, and level of exercise as places to look. Where in these and other important areas of life have you progressed, stayed about the same, or let the power of inertia have its way with you?
Where and in what ways can and will you break free of this force so that you can soar even higher and farther?
“If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you either need to change your habits or change your dream.”
—Sam Horn, American author and communications strategist
Image from Unsplash by Jakob Owens
Thoughts become things only when we take action.
Wishful thinking is not a good strategy for success. Even new millionaires who won the lottery knew they had first to buy a ticket.
To pretty much guarantee yourself a winning ticket in your life lottery, take a good look at your habits and daily practices.
If you are healthy inside and out, you likely eat well, exercise, get adequate rest, and probably have a few other self-care and spiritual practices.
What are your dreams for this year and beyond? To what degree are you progressing toward them through your daily efforts?
Consider swapping out one new good habit for one that is holding you back. To explore how to do this, consider studying and applying the work of Charles Duhigg in his brilliant book, The Power of Habit.
“If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re probably not hungry.”
—Michael Pollan, Harvard University Professor
Image from Unsplash by Shelley Pauls
I eat an apple every morning as part of my breakfast routine. Honeycrisp and Jazz are two of my favorite varieties.
It is a bit strange to me that I rarely eat apples any other time of day. Perhaps because I am literally breaking my fast from my last meal or snack, 10-12 hours earlier.
What do you notice about you own hunger trends throughout your day?
What percent of your eating is generated by true hunger verses mindless or emotional eating?
Consider creating a hunger/food log to monitor your daily eating habits. What additional strategies can you use in addition to having a few tasty apples on hand to satisfy your optimal nutritional and hunger needs?
“It is the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.”
—Aeschylus, ancient Greek tragedian
Image from Unsplash by PCMedia
If you want to live a happier, more fulfilling life, today’s quote is filled with coaching wisdom.
Unfortunately, jealousy and envy are all too prominent in our “more, more, more” hyper-competitive world. Coming out on top is all that seems to matter.
Consider the idea that you could double or triple your life satisfaction by taking pleasure and delight in the successes of others in your personal and professional communities.
How and with whom will you sincerely acknowledge and honor the successes and accomplishments of others in your world today? What would be the impact on your life if you made this a daily habit?