Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm Being Held Accountable to Improve the Way I Work

In my company, we "eat our own dog food." Meaning, we actually use the products and services we create. We do this to get insights about how to make our stuff better. Plus, we benefit personally from doing so!

The products I'm referring to are online self-development systems based on a new technology called ProStar CoachOne of my favorite exercises is called the "Reflection Exercise." A part of the Focus-Action-Reflection behavior change cycle, the Reflection Exercise uses five "magic" questions to help someone learn from experience. The idea is to complete the exercise after taking action to improve an area of ability. Doing so can accelerate the ingraining of a new behavior pattern.

The area I'm trying to improve is the personal strength called INITIATIVE. What I'm trying to do is ingrain the work habit of starting my day by working on my top priority first, before I do anything else. I'm making this effort because most of the other things I could be doing are fun and interesting time-wasters. I'm not always successful. But today I was, and I decided to do a Reflection Exercise about it...

1. What happened...

I've been trying to establish a pattern of "hitting the ground running" each morning by attacking my top priority first, before doing anything else. I did this today and by noon I had drafted two more chapters on my book.

2. Why it happened that way...

I think the content is already in my head, and getting my fingers moving on the keyboard causes it to spill out. Plus, I've already written some good draft content about these chapters.

3. The consequences...

I made huge progress right away. I felt wonderful about it. My self-esteem and self-confidence were boosted, I could feel it.

4. How I would handle a similar situation in the future...

Keep on doing it! Plus, maybe I should try kicking off the afternoon after lunch this way, too!

5. PLANNED ACTION - My next steps...

I will try attacking a new chapter right after lunch.

After answering the questions I clicked the "Save to Learning Archive" button, then the "Request Input" button to share the exercise with my accountability coach. She usually responds with ideas or encouragement.

My accountability coach is Paula, one of my business partners. I selected her because I knew she would always call me at the appointed time and ask me if I did what I said I was going to do. It's amazing how motivating these calls are. It's like getting on the scales once a week in front of my peers at Weight Watchers.

Today was a big success, but I've stumbled in the past. The trick is to not give up, to gradually build up more successes than failures. I know that if I persist, eventually "hitting the ground running" each morning will become an unconscious habit.

And how cool that will be!

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2012. Building Personal Strength .

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