by Helaine Iris
Habits get a bum rap. When you think about your habits, I bet you think
of the “bad” ones – the ones that you aren’t particularly proud of, like
too much sugar, or smoking, or dwelling on your negative thoughts. According
to Webster’s dictionary a habit simply is: A pattern or action that is
and has become so automatic that it is difficult to break.
It’s easy to see how if you start a behavior, and continue to reinforce it,
quickly becomes a habit. The pint of Ben and Jerry’s after dinner, playing
Free Cell when you should be making calls, or always leaping to a negative
conclusion when something happens. Once habits are formed, they can be
hard to break, correct?
Get ready for a new perspective – habits can be good! What if, instead of
relating to your habit as a problem, you were able to use your habits
to help you be more successful? Since habits are a natural part of our human
experience (for better or worse), learning to capitalize on your innate
form positive patterns can mean a very successful life and business.
Here are 5 habits that successful entrepreneurs can learn to develop.
1. Build resilience. You don’t need me to tell you – part of what goes with
the territory when you’re self-employed is the incessant up and down of
sales and cash flow. This is probably the number one stress producer for
Building the habit of resilience will help you to elegantly weather the
unavoidable ups and downs. You build resilience by building your reserves.
Some examples of reserves are cash, (having 6-9 months of savings in the
self-esteem (plenty of positive regard for yourself) or confidence (feeling
expert in your field).
What creates the most worry for you when faced with a stressor in your
business? Focus on building a reserve of what ever will counter your number
2. Become a passion junkie. Passion is an emotion – it’s a feeling of
excitement and intensity. It arises when you recognize something that
authentically resounds in your being, and is a result of love and affinity.
You know when you feel it and you know when it’s missing.
Unfortunately, many people have developed the default habit of
connecting with the emotion of fear instead. Fear (unless a polar bear
is chasing you) fuels negative thinking and always results in stress.
How do you connect with your passion? How can you begin to disqualify
the fear-based thoughts that want to hog the road (of your mind)? Once
you discover your passion, or remember it, taking active steps to stay
connected to it will begin a new practice and encourage the passion
habit in your life.
3. Be authentic. According to psychologist, Abraham Maslow, “Authenticity
is the reduction of phoniness toward the zero point.” Strive to be honest
your personal and professional dealings so your behavior and speech are a
true and spontaneous expression of your inner self. Live in a way that
your real vision, values and characteristics.
Do you know who you truly are? By knowing yourself first, you will develop
the habit of authenticity. What you put into the world will begin to be
congruent with what you receive back from the world.
4. Work smarter not harder. If you’re not careful, working hard can
deteriorate into an exhausting habit, rather than an expression of an
ethic. Often what drives and motivates entrepreneurs is the desire for
success, but the pursuit of success often comes with mental baggage
that can undermine it.
What are the mental “tapes” that cycle through your thought stream to
undermine you? “I’ve got to work hard and prove myself”; “If I don’t do it
myself, it won’t get done” or perhaps, “If I could just put in more time,
I’d get it all done”. Begin to build the habit of working smarter not
Counter the disempowering messages with some practical actions that
put your business more on autopilot. Improve your systems, take the
time to plan, and delegate.
5. Practice generosity. The international business networking organization,
BNI’s motto is “Givers Gain”. The premise is – more will come back to you
if you focus on generously giving to your business network, and your
Giving, providing value, or offering superlative customer service is an
attractive attribute and positive habit to develop. Tim Sanders, author
of “Love Is The Killer App” articulates this business idea as, “the act
of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with your business
partners”. This value can drive your business and your life up as far as
you want it to go. What intangibles do you have to offer your world?
What shift in your success and happiness do you see possible by
focusing on giving rather than gaining?
If creating a habit is as easy as starting a behavior, and then repeating
it (practice), consider the positive and powerful habits you could begin to
form in your life and business, starting today! Going back to Webster’s
definition, a positive habit would be equally hard to break.
Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?
It’s YOUR life. Live it completely!
Helaine is a professional coach and writer, who has been featured in
numerous publications, including “O” The Oprah Magazine. She helps
entrepreneurs and professional women accelerate their professional
success, while achieving a more complete and fulfilling personal life.
She combines a broad range of professional experience in her work,
including management positions in the education, training, retail and
international non-profit sectors. For a free consultation, contact her at
603-357-8546 to discuss how she can help you accelerate your own
success. You may also visit her website, http://www.pathofpurpose.com,
for additional information, or email your questions to