Changing Behavior Patterns to Achieve Business Success

All businesses, large and small, are comprised of people.  All people develop patterns of behavior in their lives.  Thus, whatever personal behavioral challenges an individual faces are also likely to be expressed in the work environment.  These patterns can dramatically affect the success of any business.  

Most behavior patterns operate automatically, without our conscious attention or thought.  While some of our patterns support our success on the job, others do not.  This article is about the latter, the ones you would like to change, but have not been able to, so far. 

Following are four steps that have been proven effective in enabling people to change unwanted behavior patterns that are expressed in the work environment.

STEP ONE:  WHAT DO YOU WANT? 

What specific transformation do you want to achieve?  For example, do you want to shift from: Stressful/anxious to calm/focused; indecisive to certain; fearful to courageous; lethargic to energized; sad/depressed to joyous; procrastinating to taking action; or some other shift that will benefit your business success?

Once you have decided, write down the transformation you MUST accomplish.  Your description of the outcome should be specific and measurable.  Your powerful unconscious mind will seek to create exactly what you want.

It’s likely that what has prevented you from changing this behavior is that you feel it would be more painful to change your current behavior than to continue with it.  What are the disempowering:  questions you ask yourself; images you make in your mind; self-talk you create; memories that haunt you; rules/beliefs you have; physiologies you maintain; states you experience; anchors/triggers you have.  Also, consider what:  conflicts you may be experiencing in your values; old habits you have that are on autopilot (where you feel stuck); people around you say/do; or, if you experience a feeling of hopelessness … where you have been so “stuck” for so long that you have just resigned yourself to the conclusion, “That’s just who I am.”

STEP TWO:  YOUR “BIG WHY”  

The primary reason you have not succeeded in changing this behavior is … your WHY (reason) is not big enough.  Thus, it is extremely important to grow your WHY to be so BIG and compelling that you become 100% committed to changing your behavior so you can be more successful in your career and that you are willing to do whatever it takes!  You need to get leverage on yourself.  To grow your WHY you should:

  • First, list your top 5 values, in order.  How does your current behavior conflict with one of your top values, beliefs, or principles that you live by?
  • Second, associate maximum pain to not changing.  For example:   How is your high stress level affecting your health?  How is your anger affecting your relationships with co-workers?  How is your procrastination/fear of taking action affecting your job performance?  How is your insecurity about your skills and talents impacting your chances for career advancement? How much pain is your current behavior causing now?  Be descriptive, graphic.  What will your FUTURE be like, if you don’t change?  FEEL the pain.  Make this REAL, UGLY, FRIGHTENING in your mind.
  • Third, associate maximum pleasure to changing. Manage your focus – create a powerful, internal movie of success, one that really excites you.  See yourself having a positive influence on your co-workers. Notice how you now talk, look, and feel at work and how you interact with your boss.  Tell yourself how proud you are that you have achieved your goal.  Feel the success running through your body.  Replay this movie in your mind regularly and frequently, with intensity and powerful, positive emotion. Manage your physiology – Adopt the physiology of success.  Walk, talk, stand and breathe like you are a huge success.  Fake it until you make it.
  • Fourth, continue to reinforce your WHY until you are ready to commit to changing … now!  The following 3 beliefs are critical to the process:  (a) Something must change!  (b) I must change it!  (c) I can change it!  Finish this statement:  I ABSOLUTELY MUST change this behavior NOW because …. Once you are totally committed to your outcome, make your commitment public.  Tell your boss, your co-workers, family/friends that you are 100% committed to this outcome. You may also choose to request their support in achieving it.

STEP THREE:  INTERRUPT THE PATTERN AND A CREATE NEW ONE 

What (trigger/anchor) causes the behavior to start? What is it that “makes you” …?  Is it something you:  see, hear, feel, smell, or taste?

When the trigger occurs, immediately and dramatically interrupt your pattern by doing something unusual/different.  To do this, you can change your:  

  • FOCUS – What you focus on is what you get.  To do this you can:  ask yourself better questions; create a new movie in your mind; transform your self-talk (e.g., “That’s not me!”); or change the meaning of, or your perspective of, the trigger.
  • PHYSIOLOGY – Pump your fist; take deep breaths; act as if you have already achieved the outcome and jump into your new physiology; change your facial expressions.  Behave like a winner.
  • BELIEFS – Is this belief serving you?  How does it make you feel/ behave? Associate pain to old belief, pleasureto new one. Challenge old references and create new ones.

Substitute a new, more empowering behavior.  Write down your strategy for creating your outcome.

STEP FOUR:  PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

The final step is most important.  You must practice repeatedly, until your new behavior is consistent, automatic, natural, habitual … until this is who you are.  This repetition strengthens the new neural pathway in your brain for your new behavior pattern.

To support you in consistently practicing your new behavior pattern you can:

  • Celebrate every step forward.
  • Anchor success in your mind by: (a) drawing a picture of future results from your new behavior and post it on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, desk at work, or wherever else you will regularly see it; (b) making an audio recording of empowering questions/ statements in your own voice then listening to it frequently throughout the day; and (c) replaying your success movie (in your head) regularly throughout the day.
  • Get support via encouragement from family, friends.

Most importantly … ENJOY THE PROCESS of creating a successful career, or business!!!

About the author

Dr. Paul Repicky has had a varied career in business and academia. As an instructional designer, he developed training programs for health care companies and commercial airlines. His business experience includes corporate consultant, project manager in several mid-sized companies and as an entrepreneur, as he founded and led six start-up companies. His passions include teaching, understanding human behavior, physical and mental health, and surfing.

Comments

  1. Our attitude is ALL important to every aspect of our lives I believe. From how we treat our own illness or health, how we are as a spouse, a Mom or Dad, even how we are in business. A good attitude will take us far and be a friend always. A sour attitude just causes us to shrivel on the vine…an open mind with a great attitude is something you find in all great men and women…thanks for a very good reminder!!

    1. Yes, our attitude is most important because a positive attitude attracts positive outcomes. It also supports our physical health and immune system. Even when things don’t go the way we want them to, looking on the “bright side” helps to shift our perspective in a productive way.

  2. Thank you,Dr. Paul Repicky,very informative article about business success,to succeed in business, we must first make a positive change in our attitude,whenever we encourage someone to work, they are more motivated to move forward,In this way we can improve our attitude and it is very important for a business to move forward,In this way, our ability to think will increase,behave better with others,success is guaranteed in work.a good-attitude person would never be alone.

  3. what an awesome look and read into Change and how each of us can become the person or business person we want to become — this posting I will read several times just to commit the truth to positive action for positive change !! the effort spent here to post this — is very much appreciated –will be utilized by me more than even I know right now — thank you !!

  4. Thank you Dr. Paul for those 4 amazing tips to change unwanted behavior patterns. I am a big fan of making lists and writing things down. I believe this process works with our body to facilitate changes. As step one encourages us to decide what it is that we wish to change, this becomes huge because we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge (Dr. Phil 🙂 So grateful to you for bringing these steps to the forefront of our minds today!

    1. Thank you, Janis. I agree. In fact, actually writing things down (rather than using a keyboard) sends signals to the brain that are more powerful and rich with information, which makes them more effective in terms of recording them in our memories. Dr. Phil’s comment is right on because acknowledging something brings it into our conscious awareness rather than leaving it hidden in our unconscious.

  5. Great post Doc. And so very well put. WRITE it down and following through on those writings are the best way to make massive changes in your life. Read them at least twice a day. I also believe that a vision board is a fantastic addition to the writings. Load your gallery up on your phone with pictures of the things you are going to achieve. Scroll through them rather than Facebook.

    A great book that I read also states very clearly – “As it is written, so shall it be” It is SO very important.

    1. Right on, Albert! Creating a vision board is a very effective way to bring changes you want to see into our awareness. Then, each time you see them they are reinforced in your unconscious mind (the most powerful part of the mind), which keeps it focused on and actively creating the thing you want. A few years ago I made a giant vision board (4′ x 6′) of photos from magazines and hung it on my living room wall. Many of the themes for those photos are now coming into reality.

  6. An insightful and informative read. The root here is the “me syndrome”. “i” am the “me” and only I have the power to make changes in the “me”. One of the first and primary instruments to get this done is my mouth, that is, the words of my mouth. The words that I speak originate from my “heart” the inside part of me and thus will steer my ship on the right or wrong course.
    A very wise person said, that out of the mouth flow the issues of life. So now the question is, what is the condition of your heart? What is influencing your heart for this will influence your thinking and then what you speak out of your mouth. This wise person said also that words are like the tiller (rudder) of a great ship. It is very small yet it guides the direction of the ship toward its goal, much like the small bit in a horses mouth guides the large animal in the direction it will follow. This same wise person said that one should put a guard over the mouth -discipline what your mouth speaks in other words- to avoid going the wrong direction and maintain going in the good direction for the blessings of life.

    1. Absolutely, David! I believe words are extremely powerful, whether spoken out loud or using our “internal voice.” They are particularly powerful because they guide our unconscious minds to attract into our lives, what we say. One thing to keep in mind is the unconscious does not interpret negatives. So, for example, when you say, “I don’t want to be poor.” Your unconscious interprets only the “be poor” part of the communication. Thus, it would be better to say, “I want to experience financial abundance”.

  7. I want to thank you Dr. Paul Repicky right off for a very interesting and informative Blog on achieve business success .When I owned and operated my own businesses years ago .I found out very early in business that attitude towards your business and the people you come into the business to shop was to me the most important thing I could do and that is to have a rapport with your customer ..I always gave time to them. The love of people is so important as well .

    1. That’s beautiful, Lorna. Sharing the love that is inside each of us is as important in our business relationships as it is in our personal relationships. One way to look at it is, seeing the humanity in others. Be seeing the “highest and best” in others, we support them in being in that place as well. This human-to-human connection is especially important in our world today where there is so much isolation being imposed on people.

  8. A fascinating article which reinforces the power of positivity. Positivity is so vitally important when it comes to family, friends or business. A positive attitude will help you through you daily life. Negativity on the other hand causes all types of other problems including stress – which can kill you.
    It is positivity that keeps the Compumatrix dream alive and as we know that is going to pay off big time so very soon.

  9. Thank you for taking the time to write this out so concisely. I will be reading this several times and no doubt taking notes to reinforce your words. It reminds me greatly of when I used to compete on my horses, the need to ride the course, or execute the moves in your head, just as if you were actually doing them. This creates neural pathways. It has been many years since I used this system, I definitely need to revisit it.

    1. You are quite welcome, Louise. I’m glad you appreciate the “reminder”. And, please be aware that you are constantly engage in the reinforcement of existing neural pathways as well as creating new ones. We do this automatically. If you drive to work each day you are reinforcing the route in your mind. Similarly, when you do something different you are creating a new pathway. It’s an automatic process. The difference I suggest in my blog is to create new pathways, consciously, or intentionally. 😉

  10. A few recent blogs here have been centred on “focus”, “intention” and generally taking charge of your own life. HOW does one do this? Well, ultimately it’s up to each individual according to so many variables (past experiences, upbringing, spiritual beliefs, etc.) to decide the “whats” and “whys”, but one thing remains a common denominator to us all in creating transformation. As you wrote it: “…write down the transformation you MUST accomplish.” MUST accomplish. This is something you FEEL DEEPLY, from your heart and soul, and this, I believe, lis the greatest motivator in making REAL, lasting transformation. Great blog, as always, with lots of practical tips!

    1. Zeejay, thank you for your kind words and your insights. I agree that desire to change is the most important part of the process. In fact, I believe if the desire is STRONG enough, a person can literally change overnight. I’m reminded of a story about a man who was sitting in his living room chair smoking a cigarette while he read the newspaper. His 10-year old daughter comes up to him crying. He puts down the paper and asks, “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” She replies, sobbing, “You’re going to die and I wanted you to be at my wedding.” The man attempts to console her, “Oh, sweetheart, I’m not going to die.” She says, “Yes you are” as she points to the cigarette in his hand. Now that’s leverage!

  11. Thank you, Dr.Paul Repicky, wow, so much fantastic points covered in this blog. It gives me hope to realize that nothing is impossible. It also teaches me that when I get into that melancholy state of mind and feel like giving up, I need to come and read all the important advice in this blog. All I keep seeing and realizing that failure is not an option, when you have so much to achieve. Also, much to do.

    1. Yes, Agnes, you can change any behavior you want. If you feel melancholy it is likely because you are repeatedly focusing on things that are sad for you. As soon as you catch yourself doing that you can consciously shift your focus to something that you find fun, enjoyable, exciting, etc. Remember, where your focus your attention determines how you feel. Another way of saying this is, look on the bright side. The more you practice this, the easier it gets.

  12. Thank you for the timely message DR. Repicky. I know that the common belief is that it takes about 21 days to form a habit. But the belief is now that it can take anywhere from 18 days to well over a year to develop a habit. The more pleasurable the action is the easier it is to make it a habit or harder to quit. I have had to work at making it a habit to be on this website daily as the action of sitting here increases the pain I have in my neck and shoulders.

    1. Thank you for your insights, Maxine. It appears you associate more pain to being on the website than you do pleasure. That’s what makes it difficult to change the habit. If you can find some relief for your neck and shoulder pain it will become easier to spend time here. You might try taking slow, deep breaths to relax your upper body. Also, notice if you are hunching over the computer/tablet as this is a major source of physical tension and pain.

  13. As I read your blog I thought about the times in my life that I changed a behavior pattern. There were many behavioral pattern changes in my almost 79 years that I have struggled with, only to realize that it all was worth it. The outcome and benefits far outweighed the struggles.

    1. Gloria, congratulations on staying with it and making those changes. This is where the BIG WHY, your reason/motivation for changing is so important. In my experience I have found that the bigger the WHY, the easier the change. Of course, “easier” is relative because some patterns are very strongly engaged because we find some benefit in them that is compelling.

  14. Good read-We pick up all kinds of habits as we grow some bad and some good. But most important iis when you realize you have some bad habits which are detrimental in your business.So one should make an effort to change them, it may not be easy but like Dr Paul says start imagining them in the form of a movie in your mind how positive and beneficial it will be.This will make it easy to change

    1. Thank you for your comment and reinforcement of the “movie making” idea. I personally find it very enjoyable, and easy, to consciously choose to daydream about the way I want things to be. Frequently, throughout the day, I will take a moment to imagine what it would be like if this change occurred. Because I am more auditory, I actually engage in conversations with people in my daydream. The whole process takes a few minutes and is really a lot of fun.

  15. Very useful publication to improve our professional and even personal side. Modern life makes us somewhat blind to our attitude, making us unable to improve our habits. We all always have something to improve, and this text has valuable self-observation tips. I will put several of them into practice, thank you Dr. Paul.

    1. I appreciate your response, Danimatrix. Yes, we all have something we can improve. We are all human beings and none of us is perfect. However, the key distinctions are being aware that we can improve and willing to make the effort to do something about it. Often we get comfortable in patterns that do not serve us, or those around us.

  16. Very nice post Dr Paul Repicky.Tips to improve the bottom line of your business by changing your behavior and attitude is of paramount importance. as you pointed out different steps it is up to us to change our behavior and attitude to further our cause and improve our bussiness with better interaction with the staff as well as the clients.

    1. Exactly, Bharat. Businesses are made up of people who provide products and/or services to people supported by supplier who are people. I believe the bottom line in any business can be maximized by recognizing the humanity in all those people. That’s why behaviors that support others in being the best they can be is so critical to business success.

  17. In any business, repeating the same patterns and failing each time are said, accurately I feel, to comprise the definition of insanity. We must check our patterns and make sure they are the brand of pattern that has led to success, not failure. Our attitude is key. Our judgments will satisfy themselves, so beware what we believe about what is happening.

    1. Thank you for your response, Peter. I want to reinforce your comment,
      “Our judgments will satisfy themselves, …” What you said relates to the concept of “confirmation bias”, which means that when have a bias about something we will focus on information or events that tend to confirm our bias. This can prevent us from seeing other perspectives. Said differently, to a hammer, everything is a nail.

  18. Our attitude and mindset is extremely important to achieve success in all aspects of our lives. Most importantly in our business. Reset your goals from time to time to fit with how your business is progressing. The above post is very relevant for our Compumatrix business and personal and work life balance.

  19. I really like this post. Everyone’s success is directly related to their habits / behaviour patterns which are directly related to their subconscious identities. It’s not enough to have a vague idea as to what you want achieve or who you want to become. To achieve any form of success one must set a specific goal and constantly reset his / her identity to develop the necessary habits to achieve that goal. I see myself as a businessman; I enjoy practicing the habits of a businessman; and I envision my success as a businessman.

    1. William, I love the energy of your response. Seeing yourself successful, feeling successful (in advance), and enjoying the process are all key components supporting behaviors of success. And, of course, maintaining focus on your goals while being flexible about how you get there, i.e., if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Persistence is key.

  20. Paul, your words convey a great truth. Focus and expressing our intent seems to be on many bloggers minds today. Changes within us are the missions to be pursued. By pursuing the positive aspects and letting go of the negative and all that hinders us, we can reach our goals. Easy? Not at first, but it does get easier as we are forming new habits. I heard it takes three months to overcome unwanted habits. Take that first step and determine to keep stepping. Good blog.

  21. Thank you so much, Carmen. I expect that blogs on focus and expressing intent are appearing more often relates to the increasing challenges that we are facing in business, and in our personal lives. The world is changing rapidly and we must adapt if we are to survive, and to thrive!

  22. We are simple creatures of habits and also behavior. Your behavior can alter how you handle your business and that is very concerning. Subconsciously like muscle memory, behaviors affect ones success rate in business which in turn can lead to either profits or losses. Your choice! What do you want? Your Big Why? Interrupting patterns in order to create new ones and Practicing are proven and effective ways to change ones behaviors when put into action seriously. Discipline will be tested, but when you celebrate each milestone achieved, it propels you to CHANGE more for the better!

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