It’s easy to fall prey to negative habits as an entrepreneur. After all, with the endless number of tasks that incessantly appear and fill your schedule, it’s tempting to pursue shortcuts, find excuses or avoid an otherwise prosperous opportunity.
The key to avoiding negative habits is to first become aware of them. From there, you'll need a strategy and action plan to either eradicate them like the plague or continue down the same intoxicated road (that’s a bad thing in this case). Here are four ineffective behaviors you should avoid at all costs:
1. Compartmentalizing work and life
Don’t do it. You can’t separate yourself from yourself and trying to do so just adds pressure.
Here’s a great demonstration of what I mean: Take two glasses of equal size and assign one as “work” and the other as “life.” This is your work-life balance. Now, pour water (which represents you) into one of the glasses until it’s completely full -- and I mean right to the edge.
Let’s just say you poured it into the “work” glass. What that represents is you being immersed up to your eyeballs in meetings, emails, office fires and other BS that distracts you from getting real work done. You’re taxed, stressed out and just want to go home, so you do. Now, pour all that water from the “work” glass into the “life” glass to represent your change in roles, but don’t spill.
Of course, the reality is water will spill, and you’ll show up at home less than your optimal self if you try to pack away the stress and pressure of work. It’s a recipe for disaster that, at some point, results in spontaneous combustion.
If you want to release the pressure of the day you must learn how to manage yourself. After all, how will you ever lead a company, a team or a teammate if you can’t effectively lead yourself?
Feelings of inadequacy and negative self-talk are self-defeating behaviors that get you nowhere. One of my favorite quotes is by Henry Ford, who said, “whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." The self-talk you employ is absorbed by your brain like a sponge and then wrung out in the form of emotions -- some good, some bad.
You wouldn’t let anybody else put you down, would you? You yourself shouldn't be the exception.
There’s nothing worse than people who think they have all the answers. There are a number of ways to challenge those people who have the emotional intelligence of a rock, but I'll just offer two.
First, you can challenge their thinking, and by that I mean you layer question upon question until that person realizes just how ridiculous his or her stance is. If that doesn’t work, the second way is to just flat out say, “Bob, you’re being narrow-minded here. What else can we explore here?” Some people just need a swift kick in the [insert expletive here].
Fear is only a bad thing when it robs you of life experiences. When a phobia is so strong that you choose to succumb to its evil powers, that’s when fear becomes self-defeating. I see fears surface all the time in my executive coaching practice and, more often than not, clients aren’t sure what they’re scared of.
Fear has simply become a habit, a feeling to be addicted to because it provides an escape from reality. If fear wants to overtake you, try this exercise: write down every fear you have that would make you weak in the knees if you were to confront it right now. Then, write down what your response would be if you faced it. What would be the worst thing? (How do those fears feel now?)
The good news about negative habits is they’re completely irreversible. It just requires a little skill and will on your part to do so.