When I was growing up I loved shows like Batman, and The Green Hornet. Both crime fighters had a trusty side-kick: Robin for Batman, and Kato for The Green Hornet. Whatever nasty situation they got into, they could count on their partner to help pull them out.
That’s what Hero Habits do for you.
A Hero Habit is a routine you create that makes you a hero, over and over again. It could be for health, sales, marriage, reading, planning, communication, or meditation. It’s your Kato – always there, never tiring, ready to serve. I love my Hero Habits.
According to research from Duke University, as much as 40% of your daily activities are habit-based, like: brushing your teeth, washing dishes, and driving your car (you can get a list of 12 great habits to start with in this post). Hero Habits are a bit different.
Hero Habits make you a better person, create capacity (your ability to take on more responsibility), and build success in your work and life.
You create your Hero Habits by first looking at what you need.
PUT A NUMBER ON IT
Something magical happens when you put a number to a problem. Once, when presenting to an audience of business leaders I asked what response they get when asking staff “How’s it going?”. After a collective sigh, the consensus was: “Good”, “Fine”, or “Okay.” A bad start to a conversation.
They need to ask for a number.
When you put a number on something subjective (like, ‘How are doing today?’), you get a more specific answer – one you can build on. For managers wanting to engage in a meaningful conversation, they can start with “On a scale from one to five, how are you doing today?” Regardless of what the answer is, you have something to talk about.
You car also gives you numbers so you know your speed, how much fuel is left, etc.. Your bank, utility company, and credit card company all give you numbers so you know what to pay. What about you – do you rate yourself?
HOW DO YOU RATE?
Before we look at new Hero Habits, let’s look at ones you already have.
For each of the following habits, rate yourself on a scale from one to five (where ‘0’ means I never exercise this habit and ‘5’ means I use it consistently well):
- planning habits: long-term and short-term
- work habits: working from a plan, not procrastinating
- organization and anti-clutter habits (at work and at home)
- diet habits: eating healthy foods in the right amount
- exercise habits: intensity, frequency, consistency
- sleep habits: amount, quality, consistency
- being present (in meetings, conversations, and with family)
- meeting, appointments, and being on time
- limiting time on email, TV, social media, etc
- making realistic promises
My guess is your results were not all ‘5’s’ – that’s Okay – I’m in the same boat.
The idea is not to beat yourself up, but be aware of your habits and work at improving them, one at a time. As Goethe once wrote “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence therefore is an habit, not an act.”
Now that we have awareness, the next step is becoming accountable and owning the need to change. That starts with needs.