Habits …

Habits - Video Games - Gratisography.com.jpg


I know this because of all the books you can find about habits, especially in relation to the process of change.  Authors such as Charles S. Duhigg have enjoyed commercial success by writing masterfully about the Power of Habits.  Robert Thompson, in Hooked On Customers, identified five habits of “Legendary Customer Service Companies”.   Of course, any discussion of habits must include acknowledgment of Stephen Covey and his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

If you really want a deep dive into Habitology, here is a list of 27 excellent books on this subject, including my personal favorite:  Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward by James Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo DiClemente.  As a therapist, counselor,  and coach, this has been a primary source to help me understand the process of change and the role of habits in that process.


My coffee habit is an example of a bittersweet (literally) daily habit that both troubles me and comforts me.

The dual nature of habits is common.  Otherwise we would be talking only about getting rid of habits, and not replacing them.

Remember that “personal favorite” book?    In it, Prochaska and company create a clear focus as they describe the process of change – replace bad habits with good habits.

If your bad habit is two cases of beer every evening, replace that less than ideal habit with something more healthy, such as fruit juice or water. If you are abrupt in your communications with others, become more gentle.

Sounds simple enough, but anyone who has ever struggled with a deeply entrenched habit knows that the grip of our original negative habit is often very strong.  Understanding the nature of change and habits is critical, both for leading others and for leading yourself.


A few thoughts, in no particular order …


if you can imagine a thing, actually doing or reaching that thing becomes more real and appears doable to our brains.  Athletes, musicians, and performers often use visualization as part of their practice routines.


At one time, people believed that overcoming habits was simply a matter of willpower.  If you were strong-willed, you would be able to change, and if not, you were weak.  Now we understand the strength of our habits more clearly.  Acknowledging their power over us actually strengthens our ability to change.  Self-Help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, get this …


 … or you plan to fail, as they say.  Not a big fan of this overused saying, but it does hold a truth.  WIthout intentional action to name and take specific and measurable steps to change, you will probably fail.  

Habits are strong … otherwise, we would call them affectations and discard them with ease when they proved troublesome.  As in business, time spent planning is essential and valuable time.


Another overused, but ultimately truthful saying:  When you expect to fail, you will fail.  Change is a mental game and our own expectations will either help us courageous and push forward, or crumple into Dying Spider mode when the change becomes uncomfortable.

... and real change ALWAYS becomes uncomfortable.  That’s how you know it is happening.


Except for my coffee, I am changing whether I feel like it or not in the Heartland …


Image:  Gratisography.com



Getting Over It …

Cruel Truth

If I ruled the world, things would be different …

If I ruled the world, this poster would be prominently displayed and regularly considered in the executive suites, offices, cubicles, corridors and inside bathroom stalls of every organization, profit and non-profit, and every meeting place for groups without a building of their own, everywhere.

If I ruled the world, this saying would be translated into every language, taught in every school, and lifted up in religious places as a piece of non-theological knowledge.

Not a home on the planet would be missing this message hung on the wall of whatever room the family or residents gathered in most often.

…. Well, I do not rule the world or even have complete domination of my own house.

Therefore, all I can do is share this clear and powerful thought with as many people as I am capable of sharing.

Well, I guess I can also try to live within the message of this message, which is that we gain little by ignoring or minimizing what lies before us.  Better to face reality and deal with it to the best of our ability.

How are YOU doing with that “Facing Reality and Dealing With It” part? …

Feeling like I have done my part in the Heartland ….




Image:  Courtesy of Gratisography.com (excellent source of unusual photographs)

February Leadership Development Carnival …

Leadership - Julius Caesar via WikipediaToday, I share another excellent compiliation of leadership thinking from a trusted source.

Leadership Development Carnival is a monthly collection of very talented folks who work in leadership development by coaching, speaking, researching, writing, and leading. 

Each month brings a different host on a different blog.  Paul LaRue, this month’s host, is thoughtful, decisive, approachable, and an all-around cool guy:).

Click the link for more high-quality leadership thinking and practice strategies than you could use in a lifetime … ENJOY:):


Feeling blessed in the area of leadership development this week in the Heartland ….


Questions, Questions, Questions …

Question Marks in BoxI am guest blogging today over at the Lead Change Groupwith some pointed questions about questions and why we use them so darn much.

Here’s an excerpt from the section on Learning Questions to give you a small taste:

When we ask a question, and then listen to the answer, consider what has been said, and then respond, we are learning.

Questions help us learn something. We often ask a question because we want to know something we do not know. Sometimes we ask a question to test our assumed knowledge. We ask questions to move the ball down the field.

“How did you do that?” clearly opens the door for the other person to share their knowledge with us.

Please feel free to pop over and look for logical lapses, typographical or grammatical errors, and just plain misjudgements and lies by clicking below:

Riddle Me This …

While you are there, check out all the other valuable and articulate blog posts by some of the best minds in leadership and personal development.

Feeling pleased with myself in the Heartland ….


It’s Remarkable …

Looking at You with quote

Remarkable … in other words, something worth talking about …

I believe we need to speak clearly about those things which amaze and astound us, the things whose passing we ought to notice.

We all see things that are remarkable every day.

Just take the “sun coming up every day” thing … where is that guaranteed to happen?   In some ways, as you consider how the universe operates, you begin to realize we are all very small bits in a very large space, which runs on principles both known and unknown to us.  

In some ways, every single day of our existence is a miracle and a wonder.

That’s remarkable …

“Recognize the remarkable individuals in your life who help you envision a world far beyond yourself.”  (Bill Courtney)


Sometimes our world becomes remarkable for what does NOT happen …

Take presidential political campaigns … please (sorry, could not resist a small joke).

Joking aside, politics at the national level has become increasingly partisan and sometimes we struggle to hear a clear and positive message that has depth and understanding to it about the challenges our country faces.

Yet we will elect a new president and will do so without the type of violence and theater that other countries regularly experience.   Even with a history of violence in our own politics at times, we remain much more effective, at least on the surface, than most other countries.

That’s remarkable …

“Remarkable’s a well-chosen word. It doesn’t give you away.” (James Hilton)


Sometimes, remarkability has to do with the one alternative that occurs from a myriad of possibilities.

On the personal level, our lives should and could be a series of remarkable events, and not gossip or chitchat.  You know, the type of exciting and wondrous events that make one grateful they are in a particular place at a particular time doing a particular thing.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to create stable and long-term supportive relationships with a significant other person will recognize this type of remarkability.    

When I think of all the possibilities that would have resulted in me marrying someone other than the person I did, I tend to get all slack-jawed at just how really cool it was that things worked the way they did.

That is truly remarkable …


“If you are too afraid to offend anyone, then I’m afraid you may not be able to do anything remarkable”  (Bernard Kelvin Clive)

With regard to leadership, here’s a last thought about remarkability that has to do with achievements … helping make great things happen.   I cannot think of an instance when an idea or direction of any significance happened by someone without ANY resistance from someone else.  

If you would be the author of something about which others will remark, you need to have internal fortitude to bear the resistance that will undoubtedly come.   Sometimes doing a thing is remarkable not just for the being done, but for what was overcome or withstood to do the doing.

Feeling remarkably blessed for any number of reasons in the Heartland ….


Image:  adapted from Gratisography.com