In one of the most formative books on developing good behaviour, The Power of Habit, Author Charles Duhigg said, “Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.” Analyzing why we do what we do in life and business is a constant process to ensure we reach our goals. For three entrepreneurs in Bangkok, Toronto, and San Francisco, reshaping their habits resulted in being better communicators: how they organize their time, launch new products, and promote their work--they recently shared their habit-forming process with YouInc:
Rumeet Billan, Partner, Viewpoint Leadership Inc., Toronto
I decided that I would do one bold thing each week: something that’s outside my comfort zone, something that I was avoiding, or something that I didn’t have the courage to do. So, each Monday I would ask myself what my bold move would be for the week, and then I’d orchestrate to make it happen; I could email someone new, submit an article to a publication, or have a tough conversation.
For example, I needed to have a critical conversation with one of my biggest clients, who would book me throughout the week, and then cancel last minute. I didn’t say anything, but this behaviour was impacting my schedule. One week I decided that I needed to have a conversation around structure, and although I was nervous, the client was receptive and understanding. We created a schedule that works for both of us, while managing each other’s expectations.
I’ve learned that being bold opens you up to vulnerability and demands comfort with possible rejection. Not every person that I reach out to will be receptive or reply. I’ve learned it’s critical to not take these things personally or connect them with my identity.
Nicola Jones-Crossley, Founder, AKIN Asia, Bangkok
I had noticed, though, that more often than not, when I took time out of my working day to have coffee, provide advice, or review a document (free of charge), that I didn’t gain anything from the interaction. Plus, that time shifted focus away from my work.
So, this year I started saying no, and I’ve become more productive with my work. It's taken a little while to get comfortable with--I say it nicely and politely, and with conviction, as I'm putting value and worth on my time. I say no in a few situations: when I feel it will distract me from critical work; when the request is something that I usually charge for; and when it feels like I am being taken advantage of.
LEARNING FROM PRINT
Waqas Ali, Co-founder, Markhor, San Francisco
This year I learned to go back to print. Whenever I find an essay worth attention and time, I print it and then read it later. This way I can read with more focus and reference passages when I need them.
The best essay I read this year is, You and Your Research by Richard Hamming. It helped me put myself in the shoes of great achievers, especially people who worked for many years to get their results and become successful. I also applied this new habit to learn how product leaders talk about their new creations. I started reading old press releases from Apple for the launch of the iPod, iMac, and iPhone to learn how they talked about their new products. I’ll be using this technique when we launch our sneaker brand soon.
How To Reshape Your Habits
We often blame our habits - how we think and what we do - on making us unproductive, unfocused, and de-motivated, though that’s not how habits work at all when we pay attention. As Duhigg said, “This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be.” You have more power to be productive than you think.