So often we think that our personalities are fixed, and we’re doomed to live our lives with all of our bad habits and faults. We’re convinced that we and everyone around us had better just make accommodations as to who we are. Because we think this way, we don’t make an effort to change, assuming that a transformation would require years of concentrated effort and a complete personality overhaul.
A few years ago, I read What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, a book by top business coach Marshall Goldsmith. The book was about how small changes in habits and attitudes can transform our relationships with the people around us. In it, Goldsmith lists 20 habits that, when even slightly modified, can completely change our relationships. I think they’re worth repeating:
1. Winning too much. The need to come out on top every single time.
2. Adding too much value. The overwhelming desire to add your two cents to everything
3. Passing judgment. The need to impose your standards on everyone.
4. Making destructive comments. Needless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
5. Starting with “No,” But,” or “However,” Overuse of negative qualifiers which secretly say to others, “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
6. Telling the world how smart we are.
7. Speaking when angry. Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
8. Negativity. “Let me explain to you why that won’t work.” The need to share negative thoughts even when you weren’t asked.
9. Withholding information. Refusal to share information in order to maintain control over others.
10. Failing to give proper recognition. The inability to praise or reward others.
11. Claiming credit we don’t deserve. The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
12. Making excuses. The need to reposition our annoying habits and behaviors so that other people will excuse them.
13. Blaming the past for our present habits and flaws.
14. Playing favorites at the office.
15. Refusing to express regret. The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong and see how our actions affect others.
16. Not listening.
17. Failing to express gratitude. The most basic form of bad manners.
18. Punishing the messenger.
19. Passing the buck.
20. Excessive need to be “me.” Exalting our faults as virtue simply because they are who we are.
Is there a particular habit that jumps in your way?
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Rd., Ste. 240
San Diego, CA 92124