We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit. -Aristotle
I’ve been fascinated lately with the power of our habits. We all have them. The subconscious rituals we perform routinely without thinking. Transformational change hinges on our ability to recognize and shift our habits. Here’s the key linkage. Habits can’t shift without belief. Belief is only built co-actively, with others. I’ve been reading a just released book: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg Here are some thought-provoking excerpts:
How do habits change? We know that a habit cannot be eradicated–it must, instead be replaced. And we know that habits are most malleable when the Golden Rule of habit change is applied: If we keep the same cue and the same reward, a new routine can be inserted. But that’s not enough. For a habit to stay changed, people must believe change is possible. And most often, that belief only emerges with the help of a group.
Belief is essential, and it grows out of a communal experience, even if that community is only as large as two people.
from Chapter 3: The Golden Rule of Habit Change-Why Transformation Occurs
Another reason, of many, why investing in private coaching yields such strong return. You can’t create sustainable change simply by reading a book. You can’t create sustainable change by knowing what you need to do. There is transformative power in the accountability and connection orchestrated by a well-trained coach. The coaching relationship builds belief. This shifts your habits. Don’t waste another day circling around in your own head hoping you will figure things out. Time’s a wastin’!
I’ve been focusing lately on unhooking from trying. The endless trying, which is a distorted version of pure self effort, has a dark underbelly of expectation. As in, ” If I try hard, I deserve to (fill in the blank.)” To be truly happy, we need to get over feeling we deserve something because of our hard work, and embrace being willing to claim what we are deserving of simply because we are human beings, naturally worthy of grace. In her book, The Dance, Oriah Mountain Dreamer talks about this… I love what she’s got to say–
To dance is to move gracefully. To live our soul’s longing is to be willing to live grace-filled moments. Grace is the opportunity to be happy that we do not earn. That’s what makes it grace. But if we are old-time sink-or swimmers, if we believe that our basic nature is in need of fundamental renovation, the unearned gifts of grace make us nervous. They stir feelings of guilt and fears about potential envy; they heighten our sense of unworthiness and enmesh us in a sense of obligation to work harder at being the people we feel we should be. If we are not in some essential way a manifestation of the Divine that bestows grace, grace can feel like yet another burden.
To dance, to move gracefully, to receive the grace-filled moments every day, we have to know that we are worthy not because of our hard work or suffering or our eagerness to be other than we are; we are worthy by our very nature–the same nature that creates and sustains all that is. When we know this we are able to answer the question “Are you willing to be happy?” with a quiet but confident, “Yes”.