Every day we repeat habits that help or hinder our own success both at home and at work; habits that we often repeat almost subconsciously, or at least, without question.
Very often, when businesses fail and when relationships fail, it’s due to bad habits that have been repeated daily.
The thing to remember is that some of our habits are repeated simply because they are familiar routines, not because we are actively thinking about whether they benefit us.
Whilst having food and beverages in the bar of a multinational hotel in Manchester recently (a chain I have happily stayed in previously), I couldn’t help but feel the employees were very much used to following a certain protocol, without actually being present in the moment and thinking about how best to respond to each individual paying customer and each situation that arose. Their words and behaviour seemed habitual rather than thoughtful, and their communications hollow rather than heart-felt, as they seemed to regurgitate the clichéd responses. We’ll call this their Habitual Automated Response.
The employees seemed quite miserable under the facade of their forced smiles and trained vocabulary. Those signs of their unhappiness were not only seen and heard by us, but they were also felt. Their lack of genuine cheerfulness was palpable. We, the patrons, consequently felt uncomfortable and watched them repeat this facade with other customers.
By engaging in any Habitual Automated Response, we stop paying ample attention to what’s really going on around us and within us, and therefore, shut down any critical thinking and feeling. Furthermore, others can detect this shutdown albeit below the level of consciousness sometimes.
If you’re on auto-pilot in your personal or business relationships and frequently use Habitual Automated Responses, even if the other person can’t immediately put their finger on the details, they’ll still walk away with a sense of how they felt during that interaction.
Subconsciously we evaluate a great deal from what we have taken in from our surrounding environment and/or interaction, and the feeling within is often the quickest route to understanding the results of our evaluation of an environment or interaction, even when verbalised logic and hard facts initially evade us.
Home and Business: Which Signs Are You Ignoring Because You’re Stuck In Unhelpful Habits?
How much of your work or home life consists of Habitual Automated Responses?
Are you paying attention to the interactions you have and letting them inform your subsequent behaviour? For example, which signs of discontent do you sense when you interact with your customers or staff, or your spouse or friends, and are you using those signals to help you create happy, healthy, successful relationships, business or personal?
Do you always respond the way you do because your partner always acts the way they do?
Do you always follow a certain routine simply because you have done so for years or because your parents did so?
What’s stopping you from responding differently in order to get a different outcome?
How could you respond better to your family, employees or customers, so as to elicit a better response and experience a happier and more fulfilling relationship?
Which Habitual Automated Responses are you currently employing that are actually preventing you from having the sort of business or home life that you want?
What could happen a month from now, a year from now and three years from now if you don’t change some of your unhelpful Habitual Automated Responses?
What could happen if you learnt from your interactions and changed the way you interact with people?
Remember, small actions repeated daily amount to a big difference so even the smallest changes can create the most amazing positive impact on your relationships, and subsequently, your life!
Running out of the door each morning with a fading “goodbye” following you to the car, might tell your partner that you’re not that bothered about them anymore. On the other hand, just one heart-felt, passionate kiss on the lips every morning might tell your partner you love and cherish them and are going to miss them during the day.
One tiny daily habit tweaked and taken from automated to mindful could be the difference between losing a customer or losing your spouse. It might be the interaction that tips the wobbly scales in one direction or the other.
Wake up and change the habits that aren’t helping you to succeed before the other person wakes up and walks away thinking it will never change or that you just don’t care. Never underestimate the value of every single interaction you have with people both in business and at home, because we are all constantly evaluating, calculating and decision making about our relationships, albeit often times, below the level of consciousness.