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So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Case studies from famous public shamings and insight into how the affect the psyche.
Great insights into public relations pickles and strategies; fascinating case studies and learnable warnings to always think before speaking... or tweeting.
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The “H” Word
“Habit (noun) a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.”
And hard to form I might add. I used to tell myself that habits weren’t for me. At least not now. Maybe, eventually, someday. I was a free bird! I clung to my Type-B self diagnosis and creative mentality swearing that I worked better late at night, at the last minute, because that’s when my juices were flowing. Then one fateful day, I realized how few jobs there are that will pay you late at night for doing last minute work.
The other lie I believed was that I would somehow develop the habits I needed when I needed them. I could learn to be a good employee/wife/mother/CEO when I needed to. The problem is that you don’t flip a switch at different life stages- our habits follow us, and who I was as a single woman, I stayed in marriage. Who I was in college was who I stayed in my career.
In my first job out of college, I was immediately hit with the reality of ageism. Rumors of the millennial mentality had already spread rampant across the world wide web and there I was in my little pencil skirt and blouse I bought from Charlotte Russe, trying to make sense of the fact that I was now indebted to Sallie Mae for a seemingly meaningless piece of paper I’d busted my bum these last four years for. I needed to prove myself.
What I realized after several months of trial and error is that manually trying to pull it together every day is significantly harder than when you implement your auto-pilot habits. I began to evaluate myself, a personal S.W.O.T. analysis, and realized that most of my strengths were habits I’d already formed.
I was always on time or early to meetings, I was committed to offering my best skills on every project, no matter the scope, I had excellent people skills, exemplifying grace even to the least gracious of my colleagues and clients, and I had clear communication skills thanks to my training as a peer counselor. My weaknesses by comparison were habits I’d never formed. I was often on the more relaxed end of business-casual, rushing to work like a crazy person, trying to throw together hair and make up in the car because I’d never learned to wake up the first time my alarm went off (chronic snoozer). I often suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, because I’d neither mastered the habit of getting a consistently solid nights rest, nor of taking time to meditate. And my “freshman 15” made a belated appearance because I was now sitting at a desk 8-10 hours each day and had not mastered the habit of exercising and eating nutritiously.
As I read and researched successful individuals- business professionals, people I admired, women I respected- I found that the common factor was healthy habits. These people had made a conscious decision to evaluate what disciplines they wanted in their life and they had learned a critically valuable life lesson: Success is a choice, not a feeling. If we wait to do something until we feel like doing it, it may never happen. Years of delusion have taught me that no matter how old I get, I will rarely feel like doing the dishes, going to the gym, waking up early or working on anything the requires math/science skills. But it is imperative that I do these things.
As a business owner, habits are more important and valuable to me than ever before. I no longer look at them as burdens or an unnecessary trait only required by the Type-A’s in the world. I can appreciate the power they give me to balance my career and my family, and how they shape me to be a more a disciplined, successful person.
I’m far from perfect and there are countless h-words yet to be acquired in my life, but I’m in the habit of forming habits, which is an excellent start.