Most of us have an inkling what our bad traits are. But if you don’t, ask around. Your friends, kids, spouse – every one of them knows your bad traits! Simply ask someone you love and trust. Believe me, they’ll be thrilled to help.
Once you’ve chosen a trait to take down, follow the same homework Lauren gave me: become a detective. For two solid weeks, write down every single time your trait shows its ugly head. Set a timer on your phone to remind you. And be warned, it’s going to be hard.
At the end of those two weeks, I promise you, you’ll find evidence of that bad trait everywhere. I found that I was cold to my daughter, to sales clerks, to my employees. Basically, if you got within 10 feet of me, there was a risk of feeling my chill. I couldn’t believe how bad it was. Or how blind I had been. But thanks to that detective work, I could now see just how much my Cold You-Know-What was running the show, impacting everyone and everything in my life.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
After you’ve logged your trait, it’s time to connect the dots. Look for clues about this trait is in your parent’s behavior. Negative traits are often lovingly passed down from parents to kids; chances are, one or both of your parents has some form of your trait. This isn’t about blame or finger pointing. This is about understanding where you come from so you can evolve.
I found my Cold You-Know-What in both my parents. After a long weekend with my kids, my mother would drop them off and say, “Here, have them. I need a vacation from my vacation!” right in front of them – giving them the impression that she didn’t have a nice time with them. My dad does it in his own way, too. He’s a lawyer, and totally “all business”. He used to hide out in the other room when my mother’s friends came over. Not even a simple hello. The message was a chilly, “I’m busy.” Just like me on the phone that night with our new employee.
I grew up on the receiving end of my parents Cold You-Know-What, so I knew exactly how it felt. Yet here I was pulling the same crap. And recognizing that about myself was really powerful, because that behavior is so not who I want to be.
READY TO ROCK
Now, I couldn’t just up and stop being a Cold You-Know-What. I had been one my whole life. You can’t just turn that crap off. To change, you need a practice in place. Specifically, you need to make a promise about how you’re going to behave.
I promised that if I was a Cold You-Know-What, I had to apologize within 24 hours. I did this for two weeks, and found myself apologizing all over the place. Instead of a cold chill, I was giving people my heart.
After two weeks, I added another promise to step up my practice. Three times per day, I had to do something loving. Be generous with my heart, or my time, or take care of a friend, family member or coworker. And let me tell you, EVERYBODY noticed. I was a more loving mom, a better daughter, sister, and leader at work. I got closer with my daughter, and even my parents. And I liked myself better.
If you want to guarantee that it sticks, put in a consequence for each promise. This is not a punishment per se, but rather something you have to do to hold yourself accountable. If you break your promise, give up cream and sugar in your coffee for a week, or lose your lovely glass of wine at dinner. Share your consequence with a friend, your spouse, your kids – they will help keep you in check, because they’re invested in you winning!
And the best part? Doing this work will make you unbelievably proud and happy, because there’s simply no better feeling than knowing you’re rocking the best version of you.
If you’re ready to make promises to yourself and take the next big step in your own personal development, sign up for our next Design Your Life Weekend! Our flagship 2-day course will introduce you to the method that thousands of people have used to design the lives of their dreams. Schedule a Consultation on the life area of your choice and see for yourself what the Handel Method® is all about!
Co-Founder & President HG Corporate Division