I was visiting with some industry colleagues of mine. Although we hate to admit it, we spent the first ten minutes showing we’re completely human by griping and moaning about the economic forecast, customers, and the labor pool. After coming to grips with our shame, we somehow began talking about various supervisors we have worked alongside in our careers, both recently and in the past. Only a minute or two had passed before it became apparent that one of the main attributes that made these people either exceptionally good or bad was their consistency in carrying out the duties of their position. In other words, their daily habits were either a “make or break” bullet point on their resumes. The great authors of leadership and personal growth have a significant amount of printed space dedicated to the importance of such daily habits.
During my own limited studies of the subject I have developed (and by no means do I claim it is original thought!) a list of 6 habits that most any successful person must practice to continue if they wish to grow both professionally as well as individually. Truth be told, over time I have merely watched successful people and copied what worked for them. I’ve never been one to believe that I can pronounce the word “Wheel” in a sexier manner much less make it roll better.
This week I’ll touch on an overview of these habits and then over the next six weeks we will look at each one separately.
- Take responsibility for yourself: The first step towards growing as a leader and as a person is to come to the realization that you are responsible for your own attitude, words, and actions. Once this becomes part of your basic beliefs you can evaluate your shortcomings and make a plan to move forward. Your plan can be as simple as: Starting, Educating, Reflecting, Correcting, and Repeating. Yes, I did mean for Starting to be first!
- Take Action: The next step to growing is acting. Now that you’ve made a plan, you need to act on it. Never procrastinate when it comes to your future. This is possibly the most important of all of the habits. There is no way to measure the importance of, taking your plan and acting upon it each and every day. Many people will tell you that you need to prepare before getting started. True personal growth will be accelerated when you understand that preparation is an ongoing part of the journey, not a prelude to it.
- Fill Your Well: Treat your mind as a well that you and the people under your influence draw from for support and sustenance. For you to lead others properly you must retain enough knowledge and resources to give to your team and not run out. Education must become part of your daily routine so that you don’t run dry as a leader.
- Take Time to Reflect: Reflection is one of the more advanced habits of successful people. Too many people have the drive to push forward but not the discipline to stop and learn from past experiences and mistakes. It is in this reflection that we modify our past plans to make better our future plans. Remember that “What was good enough to get you here, may not necessarily be good enough to get you where you’re going!”
- Help Others: All of the habits we form to become more developed leaders, and hopefully better people, should be for this one reason, to help others. If you live your life so that other’s lives are fulfilled, you will find your true purpose as a leader.
- Never Stop, Do it all over again: Finally we must come to the realization that growth is a continual process. Truly successful people know that they can never stop these daily practices if they want to continue to grow. Once you have become efficient at each of these habits you will learn to recognize the opportunities to practice each of them, even if only in a small way, every day.