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Make Mine Personal

Make Mine Personal

When I do book-signings for Managing with Aloha I am continually surprised by the different things people will dictate to me as the inscriptions they want when purchasing the book as a gift for someone else. I’ve even had someone ask me to sign it as Rosalie to pretend that my real name was the same as the person the book was intended for.

Other times, it’s extremely rewarding. I’m able to discover what the book has done for people oand what it has meant to them.

After a presentation I did last week, a young woman came up to me with two copies of my book. One was hers, and she took great delight in showing me how she had underlined and flagged any reference I’d made about my feelings that work is personal. There were stars and happy faces in bright colored pens all over page 97 where those three words show up as a chapter sub-heading. The second copy of my book was to be a gift for her dad. She’d flagged and highlighted the same parts, and she asked me to write,

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“With my aloha for George, because work is so very personal. Ho‘ohana (work with passion, purpose, and full intention) and ‘Imi ola (seek your best life at work). It will lighten your load and make your heart sing, and it will make your daughter happy. Manage with aloha, and live with aloha, Rosa Say.”

She then explained how she’d had a long standing difference of opinion with her dad about how work was indeed such a personal thing for her, when he’d instead advised her repeatedly that she’d never be
a) happy that way or
b) thought of as professional enough by everyone else if she continued to think like that.

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She felt that my book was a huge acknowledgement for her, that yes, she could be happy making her work personal, and she had every intention of doing so. As much as she loved and respected her dad, she wanted to be happy at work, and she wanted her work to be about her.

Well, this time, I happily did the inscription she wanted, because George, I do agree with your daughter. Work IS personal for people, and it always will be. It consumes a significant part of our lives, and because it affects so much of what we do, who we are, what we are identified with, and perhaps most importantly how we think, it is VERY personal. Generally my experience is that the more personal we allow our jobs to be, putting a signature on our work, the more fulfilling our professional roles tend to be for us.

Now I’ll grant you that there are many people who are much happier at work because they have deliberately worked at not making it personal. They prefer the detachment, or they have other good reasons why they’ve chosen to keep their work as separate as possible from the realm of their personal lives. If that works for them great, and I’m not one to argue the point and try to convince them that they are somehow deluded or cheating themselves out of richer possibilities (even when that might be my opinion.) However I’d bet they just have a job, not something they consider to possibly be their life’s work; build-a-legacy, make-a-difference work.

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Where I strongly and vocally differ with George is in telling someone else who wants to personally invest in their work not to do so. For goodness sake, don’t be the one to rain on someone’s parade! I completely concur with these words written by Sally Hogshead:


“A career worth loving is not an indulgence, a privilege, or a fluke. Passion is an imperative. Joy is an imperative. Loving your career is a non-negotiable necessity for breaking through client and consumer skepticism. And for reaching your own greatest potential. And for making any kind of difference in this world.”

I’m with Sally, and I’m wholeheartedly in support of George’s daughter and all of you who want work to be personal. You better believe my work is personal and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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I love to teach timeless principles and mentor with values, and in particular, I love coaching managers. I love maximizing strengths in people and helping them in the self discovery of their innate talents. I love the science of business and the democracy of free enterprise, where ultimately the customer rules. I love reading, I love the written word and I love the study of how language can influence relationships between people. I love the new global possibilities of networking and the synergy of community. I love the notion that we can choose our own destiny and create it. I get passionate about all these things, and you bet I make them personal. By indulging my passions I gave life to Managing with Aloha.

Just imagine what you can do when you make your work personal.

Thank you for reading, I’ll be back next Thursday. On every other day, you can visit me on Talking Story, or on www.ManagingWithAloha.com. Aloha!

Rosa Say
, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

Previous Thursday Column:
The Real Rules of Engagement.

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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