People come to coaching often because they want to realise BIG results. I have managed to learn a great deal about productivity by achieving the following:
- a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Caltech – one of the best science universities in the world
- write and publish a book with the No1 UK publisher Wiley and Sons, Capstone
- change my career from science to human resource management to business
- find a partner I love
- start my own business.
And while these are significant achievements, the only massive action I took towards each one was deciding that this was something I wanted:
- a Ph.D.,
- having my book published,
- being creative and doing what I love in a way I like doing it,
- sharing my life with someone I admire and love,
- serving others with my efforts and building a team where other people felt fulfilled in their jobs too.
Here are a few things that did not help me towards getting to my goals:
- Wanting to stay in school to avoid getting a job.
- Thinking it’s all been said before.
- Feeling I could not change my mind or I would disappoint other people.
- Looking for “the one”.
- Thinking I should not try because I lack investment and a roadmap.
What helped me were habits that seemed incredibly small and insignificant at any given time yet proved super effective in the medium to longer term. Below you will find a number of books I highly recommend you read if you want to know more about habits but if you want to simply take immediate and positive action for yourself keep reading.
The difference a good habit can make to any goal is massive! Accumulation of regularly performed small and positive actions is far more effective than doing the occasional ‘big push’. In fact, having over ten years of coaching experience I would go as far as saying that doing a big push only makes sense if you already have a positive habit which you do on a regular basis. Whether you’ve got a specific goal or are aiming towards a more generally positive direction, it’s what you do on a daily basis that most determines your chances of success.
Good habits compound your success. More on the details of how this works will be shared in another blog but as my coach says we don’t need to know the mechanics of refrigeration to know we should keep out milk cold.
The small actions you take every day such as:
- setting daily goals and making to-do lists,
- working on parts of your creative project one bit at a time,
- delivering value to someone,
- relating to people from your true heart center,
- serving the client(s) you have now
It’s a tad deceiving actually as in the moment, such daily activities are hardly Herculean. They are ordinary. But if you compare them with what other people you admire do, they will often be the same. This is true even if your role models are Nobel Prize winners, New York Times Bestselling authors, captains of specific industries, the couple you heard or know about celebrating their golden anniversary, and the young millennial millionaire. While luck certainly has its place in success, as Louis Pasteur, French chemist and biologist and Nobel Prize recipient, who played the foundations for the science of microbiology, proved the germ theory of disease, invented the process of pasteurization, and developed vaccines for several diseases, including rabies, is known for saying “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”
- Look back in time, maybe 3, 5 or 10 years and consider which habits, however small, helped you succeed in areas where you feel most proud of your achievement.
- Look over the last year, perhaps at 3, 6 and 12 months and examine your good habits over these periods and how they connect with what you want to achieve now.
- You may also wish to look towards areas where you have not done as well as you wish either in the last year or in the past. Notice whether you can pick up any clues about habits that are working against you.
To make time count we need to appreciate the value of good habits and learn to nurture them. Stay tuned for other e-mails, our monthly newsletter or visit my other blogs. Let’s create the life you want and bring out the best in you. And if you have questions or comments email me.
Recommended books to explore further
- The Habit by Charles Duhigg – for coaches, consultants and those who really want to know more about the science of habits
- Atomic Habits by James Clear – for students of life with an overachiever gene
- Get Productive by me – for 36 practical activities that will boost your productivity without needing to read a whole book.