“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that in each and everyone of us, there is a potential leader. The difference between John Quincy Adams and yourself however, is the courage to take a step forward and the drive to reach a goal. Do you ever lay awake at night thinking about the promotion you should go for but can’t because you don’t think you would be fit for it? Think again, here are some indications that you are a great leader, and you don’t even know it yet.
1. You are approachable.
If you find yourself giving advice to your friends and coworkers more than you are taking it, it means that they value your opinion and are the go to person for help. Being approachable is an important quality for a leader to have because no one really wants to work for someone without an open door policy. People trust your judgment and confide in you: take pride in that.Advertising
2. You maintain a smile, even when it is difficult.
Maintaining your composure professionally is an excellent trait many leaders have and many companies are looking for. It is important to keep calm and keep the situation under control. If you have found yourself nodding silently and listening to someone who is obviously upset and is screaming at you, then you have more patience than most.
3. You have an open mind.
Keeping an open mind is an important trait when it comes to being a leader. If you have found yourself listening to someone tell you on how to do things more efficiently and take it as constructive criticism, I applaud you.
4. You are straight forward.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone is asking for advice and even though you know they do not want to hear it, you give it to them anyways? You don’t sugar coat it and give it to them straight to get the point across. That is a good thing, it may not seem like it to your friend at the time, but it is a great quality each leader has. Sometimes, you will have to hold meetings, give constructive feedback on an employee’s performance and occasionally, let someone go. It takes a tough person to have this trait, be proud of it.Advertising
5. You are responsible, even though you don’t want to be.
There are some of days where it just sucks to live and you want to just lay in bed. You want to stay there, eat your meals there and go back to sleep. Whatever has got you down, you push it aside and you force yourself out of bed because you have responsibilities. You have people counting on you and you have things to get done that will not finish themselves. There are some that don’t make it out of bed, and just push those tasks aside for another day, but not you. This is called being responsible. Leaders need be responsible when no one else wants to be.
6. You treat everyone equally despite how you feel.
Whether it is at work or at school, you treat people equally regardless of your feelings. Being a leader means that you must be able to treat everyone with respect, even if you are having a bad day. If you are the kind of person to leave your personal life’s luggage at the door of the establishment you work or study at, that is impressive. Not many can do that.
7. You are confident but are never afraid to ask for help or support.
Great leaders are not perfect. They are confident in the choices they make but they are not afraid to ask for help if they need it. If you have found yourself stuck in a rut and ask someone else for support, take it as a good thing. You are human and though you may know a lot, you don’t know everything. If you accept this and move on with an open mind, consider yourself leader material.Advertising
8. You find the silver lining, even in the worst situations.
Your energy is irresistible. Everyone needs positive energy to feed off of and leaders of all kinds need to have it. It is important to have this energy in the work place because mistakes are made here and there, but any action taken afterwards can make the situation worse if you let negative energy fester. Great leaders take every situation and focus on the silver lining.
9. You help others without expecting anything in return.
Have you found yourself finishing tasks at work because it needs to be done not because you have been asked? Or volunteering to help someone move just because? Great leaders do things to help others and not expect anything else in return from anyone.
10. You genuinely care about how others are feeling.
Sometimes in life, you find yourself pushing plans aside to listen to someone vent or to be their shoulder to cry on. You are the person that people come to when they want to talk about life and how it is going wrong. You make time for this because you honestly care about how people feel. Great leaders not only try to get to know who their people are as employees but also as actual people. They acknowledge that people have feelings, ups and downs, and need to have someone listen and reset their mind.Advertising
If you found yourself thinking, “I do that” with several of these points, you may just be a leader. All you need is a little confidence and initiative to make it happen. There is nothing in this world stopping you from being what you want to be, except yourself. If you want it, work for it. You already have got the traits of a leader and the world could always use another great one.
Last Updated on July 21, 2021
The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.
Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”
A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.
Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.
In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.
Table of Contents
From Creating Reminders to Building Habits
A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.
For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.
This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.
The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.
That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.
Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!
The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.
Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.
But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?
The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.
The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders
A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.
For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.
But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)
If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.
For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself) can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.
These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.
For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.
How to Make a Reminder Works for You
Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.
Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.
Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.
My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.
Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.
I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.
More on Building Habits
- 16 Everyday Habits of Highly Productive People
- How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You
- How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months
- How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
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