Are Your Habits Driving You Insane?

Many people find it difficult to talk about emotions in business and in the workplace. Who ever thought emotions would contribute to one’s person’s decision-making, independence, and problem solving ability? Emotions and communication are the “soft skills” or people skills that help businesses grow and leaders climb the ladder of success.

The issue is – not everyone is equally self-aware.

You may have heard the phrase quoted by Albert Einstein, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over but expecting different results.”

ID-10063208This statement makes me think of the movie, “Groundhog Day” (1993) starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell where Bill Murray is continually taking the same actions and attending the same events, repeating each day over and over.

Are you frustrated with always getting the same results at work or in your life?

Have you recognized a pattern of behavior?

Do you keep repeating the same mistakes?

If you said yes to any of these questions, perhaps it’s time to examine your behaviors. When you examine these behaviors, your initial reaction may be to make an excuses or point the finger at someone else. However, chances are you’ll realize that the common denominator is you! You need to make the change.

The great thing is that you can take 100% responsibility for your actions and because you are in the midst of it you may not have realized how your repeating patterns of behavior have become so automatic. In Dr. John B. Arden’s book, Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life, he mentions that “Cells that fire together wire together”.

“The more you do something in a particular way, use words with specific accent, or remember something about your past, the more the neurons that fire together to make this happen will strengthen their connection. The more the narrow inspire together, the more likely it is that they will fire again to get there in the future.”- Dr. John B. Arden

Think about a wheelbarrow crossing a grassy path. If you take that wheelbarrow on the same path 50 or 60 times, eventually you will form defined pathway. This is why people who hang onto the past or think negatively about situations can form a rut and have difficulty re-framing, letting go of the past, or overthink situations.

This analogy leads to why a person’s behavior can often be predicted. Our thoughts and feelings affect our behaviors and actions. When you are emotionally self-aware, you are able to recognize your emotions as well as the emotions of others. By doing so, you may notice a pattern of behavior has to how you or another reacts to a situation.

Reflect on the following situations and think about your potential responses:

Your teenager missed their curfew and did not call.

Your team did not meet the deadline because you failed to follow-up with each team member.

You constantly have to add your opinion to every discussion.

You make costly decisions that are impacting your bottom line.

You are not fully present and did not hear very important information said in the meeting.

You procrastinated and now you have to stay up late to finish a project. In the morning, you are tired and short-tempered with your family at the breakfast table.

Look at your pattern of behavior:

Are you being impulsive or patient?

Do you jump to conclusions or seek more information?

Are you reactive or responsive?

Do you keep your calm or do you blow your top?

Do you keep quiet and bottle things up until you become overwhelmed?

Are you mindful of how you spend your time?

It’s time to stop the madness…. What’s going on?

Stop doing what you’ve always done. It is no longer serving you and maybe it never did. Habits can be good or bad and depending on the choices you make, you can have a positive outcome or negative consequence. What is the outcome you are looking for?

Ask yourself, “What can I say or do to get a different outcome?”

World-class executive coach Marshall Goldsmith states: “correcting the behavior, you will discover, does not require polished skills elaborate training, arduous practice or supernatural creativity. All that’s required is the faint imagination to stop what you been doing in the past-in effect-to do nothing at all.” What Goldsmith means “by doing nothing at all” is stopping behaviors like passing judgments, making excuses, hanging onto the past, negative thinking, adding our two cents to every discussion, and always having to win at all costs. How does it impact you or others? Sometimes the best thing you can do or say is nothing at all.

What is repeating the same mistakes and getting the same results costing you?

The cost is more financial. The cost can be a breakdown in relationships and communication. The cost can be your health, marriage, your relationship with stakeholders, your business, and even your bank account.

Stop the insanity. Break the cycle. Discover the pattern of your behaviour.

You must be willing and read to make a change in your behaviour and actions to get different results.

Your breakthrough may occur when you do the following:

  • Recognize your emotions and the emotions of others in a situation. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings for they influence your behaviors. Imagine what the other person maybe thinking and feeling.
  • Manage these emotions by challenging your beliefs and assumptions about a situation.
  • Develop a learner mindset and be curious about a situation. Ask questions. The better the question, the better the answer and ultimately the better decision made.
  • Gather more information, you may need to do some research.
  • Ask others to help you identify some of your self-limiting habits. Habits can become so automatic; you may not recognize that they are not serving you.
  • Take what you know to solve the problem or make better decisions.
  • Be authentic and make decisions based on your values.

What habits do you need to change? What habits would empower you or make the biggest difference? Start with one.

What is the one thing you can stop doing or change that would make the biggest difference right now?

The insanity will stop when you start doing something different to get a different result.

Get the result that you want!

DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and Certified Executive Coach. She has a heart of a teacher and is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. She is a contributing writer for Diversity Magazine and Fabulous at 50 magazine. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion.



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