The habits you develop will make or break you


You woke up typically groggy this morning from yesterday’s 14 hours at work and stumbled to the Keurig to take advantage of instant bliss. That cup of coffee only took a few minutes to work its magic, pumping caffeine through your brain and bringing you alive. Another day begins as you’ve always begun your days tired, but pleased with that cup of coffee (or perhaps three or four) always gets you moving.

At work, you begin with gusto to put fires out. You’re unconsciously continuously looking for what you can fix and for problems to be solved. Looks like another long day but you love the rush you feel as things get taken care of. You’re on automatic, not stopping to think about what you say, how you impact others, or the bigger picture you need to pay attention to. You don’t realize what this does to your organization because you are a leader on fire!

Even though you skip lunch most days, you can run out to the food truck almost any time for a hot dog or a taco, your favorite foods (ketchup and taco sauce are vegetables, aren’t they?).

You feel great and you love your work.

Its three years later. You still wake up and drink plenty of coffee; you still put out fires and eat that taco for lunch. You’re still doing the same job for 14 hours a day and frankly, it’s lost its’ luster. There isn’t a promotion in sight. And by the way, what’s with that persistent nagging ache in your neck and upper back, the inability to sleep at night, the poor performance review, the spouse who is threatening to leave, the kids who don’t recognize you and the employees who are staging mutiny because they lack direction and a vision?

Seeing the links between habits and leading

Connect the dots and you might see that those seemingly innocent habits you’ve developed are a root cause for what’s going on in your life today. All of them have been done in excess over years and are causing problems in your body, mind, spirit and relationships. You may now see that you’re doing many things in excess that are preventing you from being the best leader you can be. You’re really stuck.

You need to stop and/or slow down. Your habits aren’t serving you any longer. Focus on what’s working well, and expand it. Figure out who you want to be (not just what you want to do). Get some help if you need it from a coach, friend, or family member to come clean from the things that don’t work and find new healthy habits to help you really LEAD.

We need you. Good leadership can be hidden under a pile of bad habits. We want your leadership to come out glorious, shining, and graceful, eager to take on the important things that will make an impact in our world and our organizations.


P.S. I can’t wait to feature your story. If you’ve stepped away from bad habits to develop good ones that have impacted your leadership , let me write about you, so you can impact other  leaders who read your story. Write to me at [email protected] .



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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.


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