Develop & Maintain Habits for Success

There are many excellent quotes about habits, and one of Aristotle’s captures the essence of this tip very well:

 “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

It took me a long time to develop good habits for both productive living and success. As a teenager, good habits were not something I was concerned about. The results were predictable. If it were not for a good family somehow keeping me between the yellow lines, I am sure I would have never attended college. College can be a place where very bad habits are developed and deepened. I did plenty of that.

However, somewhere, somehow in college, life came together through the guidance of a few good role models and involvement in activities where I could experience success. Dr. Mel Levine, a doctor at the University of North Carolina, used to say, “Success is like a drug. The more you have, the more you want.” I had some success in college—and I wanted more.      

Early in my career, I was fortunate to advance in my responsibilities, moving from sales to fundraising, to managing and leading. To live both a good and successful life, I had to constantly improve my habits. I must refine those habits today to continue that growth. You do too.

In 2017 we launched our 12-week online training, “The Daily Dozen: Habits of Highly Successful Fundraisers,” which teaches the habits most frequently identified as critical to success by very successful fundraisers. Again, the idea was that by exercising the right habits every day, you will be a highly successful fundraiser, manager, and leader.       

After all, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

While all 12 habits of “The Daily Dozen” are essential to success, I want to highlight two today. These two made all the difference in my life: 1. Positive attitude. 2. Positive preparation.

My mother taught me that attitude is the one thing I can control. As I will discuss in my Tip next week, I have been through some serious trials—and still confront significant challenges today. I am sure you do too. Having the grit to face the toughest stuff in life straight on and knowing—yes, I said knowing—you will make it through, that is a positive attitude. The great thing is, the more battle-tested you are, the more confident you are to face the next battle. Positive attitude begets positive attitude.

That positive attitude spills into positive preparation. With the knowledge I can be successful, I positively prepare for each meeting, each donor visit, each coaching and mentoring session with a client. It is the positive life-cycle of positive preparation, which leads to positive outcomes, which leads to positive self-image, which leads to positive attitude, which leads to positive preparation. And so it goes, on and on.

Even when your efforts do not accomplish the desired outcome, your positive attitude and positive preparation—your positive habits—help you recognize and correct mistakes, getting you back on track.

Tip readers—your habits matter. Do you have the right habits for a good and successful life? Are there habits that interfere with your ability to do your best work and deter you from maximum success and happiness? Are there some habits you need to get rid of? Are there other habits you need to improve, refine, or maybe newly develop altogether? Be honest.

Your habits are essential to growing in both a good and successful life. Develop and maintain the habits for success. Aristotle had it right. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” 

For more great quotes on habits, CLICK HERE!


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