History Does Repeat

It’s true, you get what you repeat.


At the beginning of this work week, what are you inclined to repeat over and over again? Is that what you want to do?

If not, start a new, better habit and then repeat that over and over again.

If you are not getting what you want – better results, better relationships, better health, better vibe – then change what you tend to repeat that is currently giving you lack-luster experiences. Perhaps the “secret” to your success lies in what you habitually repeat – good or bad.

Focus on All or Nothing?

You have read about it. You have heard podcasts about it.

FOCUS. We are to be focused professionals. Get results. Get our teams focused. Do it. Do it now!

And when we try to focus on everything, we tend to accomplish nothing (or at least very little). I know you’ve experienced this. It can stress you out, right? So what can you do?

You cannot do it all. Even if it sounds noble, you cannot focus on everything all of the time. Multi-tasking is ineffective. Those that say it are blind to their own short-comings.

Try a new approach. Have you heard of “kaizen”? It literally means “good change” – taking small incremental steps toward betterment. I want to merge the idea of kaizen with the process Dr. BJ Fogg shares about behavior change and tiny habits. These thoughts are from 2 books I’ll share at the end of this post.

Instead of trying to focus on everything in order to become better at it all, practice kaizen and tiny habits by picking 1-2 things to focus on for betterment. Don’t feel guilty. Just simply pick 1-2 things you wish to focus on for the next week (maybe 2) and work to become better in that area.

For example, say you want to develop healthier habits. You know you need to exercise. Walking is a great exercise. Studies show that a 20 minute walk really wakes up your brain. So you decide you are going to focus on this.

Kaizen – taking small steps toward your goals – says that you can take a 20 minute walk. Not 2 miles. Not a 2 hour hike. A 20 minute walk. You can do that, right? Now couple this with Dr. Fogg’s idea of a tiny habit and pick a “prompt” that helps you accomplish this habit. Lay out your walking shoes the night before and place them by your bed if you want to walk in the morning. You wake up, get your business done and then you dress and lace up the shoes and walk for 20 minutes. And do it for days in a row. Create a tiny habit and take small steps (literally) toward your goal.

No one can effectively focus on all the things that bombard us. With no guilt, pick 1-2 things you want to become better at. And then take small, incremental steps towards that goal. Create a habit by adding this routine to what you are already doing. Using prompts to build habits is highly effective. Then, in a week or two, pick 1-2 more things.

As you become better, you’ll feel better about these small accomplishments. And new habits can form. And new, effective habits bring good results.

Focus is not all or nothing. Focus can be 1-2 things that move you forward. Isn’t that what you want?

Books to consider reading:

The Spirit of Kaizen by Robert Maurer

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, Ph.D

Focus Mapping

I am reading Tiny Habits by Dr. BJ Fogg. As I’ve mentioned this in the past, I highly recommend this book. In fact, I’ve already purchased 2 copies that I’ve give away.

Early on in the book, Dr. Fogg addresses behavior change as it relates to motivation. I’m sure that each of us have struggled with motivation in the past. January 1 of any year is filled with hope-filled aspirations. Local gyms are packed with the right-now motivated.

But visit there March 1 and the crowds are gone.

We have team members who know they need to improve their results. They tell you they want to. They tell you they will. They seem motivated. But their behaviors do not match the words.

Dr. Fogg lays out a pretty simple concept to help any of us hone in on what we truly want to do and then guides the reader through a process he has developed that identifies behavior options that could get us to the desired goal. From those behavior options, his process then guides the reader to identify which of those behaviors are “High-Impact Behaviors” (very effective at helping you reach your goal. The reader also can identify which of the behavior options are “Low-Impact” ones.

Next, the reader is guided to identify which behavior options truly have the necessary fuel to get done. Dr. Fogg identifies this continuum as identifying the behavior options that you know you can get yourself to do and those you know you cannot get yourself to do.

I have already run this exercise with a couple of my team members and/or colleagues. The conversations that have resulted and the clarity for behavior change have been very good.

Dr. Fogg focuses on behavior change vs. motivation. “Aspirations are abstract desires” like wanting your kids to clean their rooms. “But aspirations and outcomes are not behaviors.” We need aspirations. But it will be the behaviors we do that will get us to our desired state.

Pick up this book. You learn specifically how to do what I’ve described above. Focus mapping and behavior design that Dr. Fogg has developed and shares in the book are great coaching tools that anyone can use.

“Here’s the unfortunate thing – most people believe motivation is the true engine of behavior change. Yes, motivation is one of the 3 elements that drives behavior. The problem is that motivation is often fickle…you overestimate future motivation. It happens to the best of us. You are not dumb or frivolous or easily hoodwinked. You are human.”

More of. Less of.

On this early morning (4:51 am) of September 11, I woke up with this on my mind.

Tony Jeary first introduced me to an idea, a concept that changes lives. This idea helps people become better. Goals become focused. Behaviors take on new meaning. This is not only practical – it is doable.

More of. Less of.

Think about a goal you have:

  • Monthly sales goal
  • Weight loss
  • Self-development
  • Relationships

Now that you’ve got that one goal in mind, ask yourself, “What can I do more of to move me closer to my goal?” Then ask, “What do I need to do less of that is hindering me from achieving my goal?”  Now go do it!

It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? We already know what we need to do more of to hit sales goals (more calls, more follow-ups/follow-throughs). We already know what we need more of to become healthier (drink more water, exercise, eat more veggies). And you can list what you need to do less of to develop yourself into becoming the better version of where you are today (i.e. less TV?). And you have a lot of experience already to know what you need more of and less of to make your relationships thrive.

Let’s broaden this thought out. My country…our world…needs more of something, and it all needs less of something.

  • Prosperity?
  • Equity?
  • Justice?
  • Violence?
  • Chaos?

What I woke up to was this: more love. This is not new. This is not radical. This is and has been the answer forever. And we all know how to do more love.

  • Smile – let your spirit brighten someone else’s day.
  • Laugh – it’s healing.
  • Care – do something for your elderly neighbor. Buy someone’s meal at a restaurant (without them knowing it was you). Volunteer.

What do you think would happen in our world if everyone did one random act of kindness today? Just one. More love. That’s what would happen.

So, why don’t we? Perhaps we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we become blind to others. Maybe we are so inwardly focused on our own fears, worries, anxieties that we cannot see how others struggle. Perhaps we need less focus on ourselves and more attention on those around us.

Today I challenge myself – and you – to do more of something that moves you towards love in your part of the world.

  • Smile more.
  • Tell someone you appreciate them. Literally, tell them and be specific.
  • Be helpful.
  • Compliment more.
  • Find the good in someone else.
  • Say “thank you” often.
  • Email/Call someone you have not been in contact with. Tell them you have been thinking about them.
  • Do a random act of kindness.

In my country, today is a somber day. We remember a day filled with hate, destruction, and murder. But we also remember more about our heroes who gave their lives so others lived. We remember a city that rebuilt itself as our nation rebuilt its hope. We remember buildings filled with people who loved others, helped others, and inspired others in the face of unspeakable horror. We remember.

And today, we do more. We love…more. And one by one, person by person, this love changes our nation and our world.


Tuesday Tip – Who else would benefit from knowing this?

Many of you read articles, blog posts, books or listen to a TED talk and you are inspired. You learn something new. You actually make changes in your professional/personal life as a result. Does it all end there…with you?

My tip for today is take this one step further. Why else would benefit from knowing or getting exposed to this information?

  • Your team?
  • Your colleagues?
  • Another leader in your community?
  • Your family?
  • Your mentor or mentee?

Of course learning and developing as a leader is critically important. Take it one more step and share what you have learned with someone else. Email them a link to that blog post. Send them a podcast link. Take a photo of a powerful paragraph and email that to them. Share what you’ve learned over coffee or lunch.

Some folks will be receptive to this. Others will not. You’ll learn who is open to this. Focus on adding value. This sharing – it is about them, not about you. You could help someone launch something incredible in their life!