You learn life’s lessons in some of the strangest places.
But if you’re willing to learn, and are constantly looking for learning opportunities, it’s amazing how often life’s lessons appear.
It’s equally amazing, that these life lessons can contain the answers to many of the business (and personal) issues you face.
One of my favorite quotes from Aristotle is this:
“We are the sum of our actions; therefore, our habits make all the difference. Our actions and our behaviors are our morals shown in conduct.”
Wise words indeed.
If you stop to reflect on these words they provide clear guidance to tapping into your potential.
Let’s start with this: “We are the sum of our actions; therefore, our habits make all the difference.”
To tap into your personal best (individually and collectively), you must look toward your habits.
So, what is a habit?
A habit is a learned, automatic sequence of behavior (and thought).
What you think and do repetitively over time becomes a habit. And it is these habits that among other things, cause you to be who you are and cause your level of success.
Needless to say, spending time thinking about these habits, the things you and your colleagues do automatically and repetitively, are key drivers of what cause the level of success you currently experience and will continue to experience in the future.
But investigation and reflection on your business habits (and also your personal habits), is only one part of the picture that Aristotle provides.
Morals Shown in Conduct
What Aristotle suggested was – “Our actions and our behaviours are our morals shown in conduct.”
Think about that for a moment.
Everything you do (your actions and behaviors) demonstrates to others (family, friends, colleagues, potential and existing clients) who you are, and what you stand for.
Whether you like it or not, people make decisions about you based on your actions.
These decisions, which may or not be verbalized, can make the difference between a client choosing to do business with you or not.
What do you stand for?
Most importantly is the decisions they make about the values you stand for and live by.
Many people do not really understand what their personal values are.
They haven’t considered the importance of developing their own personal code.
This can cause potential problems when faced with difficult situations at work, where they feel uncomfortable about what is being asked of them or expected of them.
When people are asked to act or behave in ways that are inconsistent with their own personal beliefs or values, a degree of discomfort will consciously or sub-consciously cause their performance to be far from their personal best.
This problem is increased, and harder to diagnose, when individuals are not aware of their personal values, and therefore, cannot put their finger on what’s troubling them. They just know that something is not right.
To perform at your personal best, you have to not only be competent in what you are being asked to do, but also comfortable that what you are doing is aligned with your values and what you stand for.
For this reason, it is important today, just as Aristotle was espousing in mid 300BC, to take time to reflect on your personal values.
Your personal values will lead you to understand your professional values.Does this mean climbing a mountain, crossing your legs and chanting a mantra to discover your inner self?
Well, whatever turns you on.
A more pragmatic approach is to think about the following and build on the concept to develop your own set of values and code.
Clarifying Your Work Values
Start by answering these questions:
- How would you like clients to describe you?
- How would you like clients to describe the service they receive from you?
- How would you like clients to describe your communication with them?
- How would you like clients to describe your professional knowledge?
- How would you like clients to describe your character?
- How would you like clients to describe your consistency?
Get the idea?
Once you have answered these (and similar) questions, take time on each to consider what actions and behaviors you constantly demonstrate (habits) that support your answers and would cause a client to describe you in the ways you have listed.
In this way, the potential to achieve your personal best is increased.
When you understand that your values are the driver of your actions, and you mix this with the search for and development of competence to support those actions and values, an inner strength is developed.
That inner strength, call it confidence in thought and deed, creates that magnetic attraction for people to make positive decisions about you, and to say … “You’re the kind of person I want to do business with.”