When Our Habits Go Rogue

black hat

We are all blessed with the ability to form habits. Our habits keep us safe (we look both ways before crossing the street) and help us do complex things with ease (if we had to think about how to drive a car, we’d crash every day).

Of course, we can have bad habits. Bad habits include addictions and compulsions. And they include good habits that have gone rogue.

Rogue habits used to work well for us; they were part of our inner circle of success tools. Say, for example, we developed the habit as a kid of getting forceful when challenged. Or maybe we clammed up in unfamiliar situations. We didn’t have to think about it: challenged = forceful, unfamiliar = clam. We received regular, positive reinforcement because these habits kept us safe and sane through our school years.

These habits continued to serve us as we moved into the work world. More reinforcement! At some point in our career, though, these habits stopped being effective. As we gained experience and responsibility, these or similar habits stopped helping and started hurting our cause. We experienced increased resistance from others. And we couldn’t see that our beloved habits, the things that kept us successful for so long, had gone rogue.

What to do? First, we need to know what our rogue habits are. Have a 360-degree assessment done. Or ask a dozen people who know you what might be a rogue habit that is important enough to address. Listen carefully and thank people for their responses. No arguments, no explanations. Just, “Thank you.”

Second, select the one rogue habit that seems to be generating the most resistance with others. Commit to replacing this habit. Third, go back to your colleagues and ask for their tips on how you might replace the rogue habit. Select the tips you think are best and implement them. Finally, go again to your colleagues to ask how they think you are doing and what other advice they might offer.

Anytime you experience resistance, consider that it may be due to a success habit gone rogue.


In your corner,



PS: We often do not need to stamp out the actual behavior contained in our rogue habit. We can learn to use it intentionally in the rare occasions when it’s appropriate.


Today’s photo credit: JadiKreatif via photopin cc


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