It’s what I love most about the turn of a calendar; lots of whitespace and opportunity ahead of us to create what we want to experience and accomplish in the upcoming year.
There’s a self-leadership habit that can help you to make the most of your days throughout this year, and that’s to continually bust your own status quo.
What is Status Quo?
When I facilitate the topic of status quo in my sales strategy and sales training workshops, here’s how I define it: status quo is our current state of being; it’s the comfort zone we will subconsciously return to in a given situation. Sometimes the status quo is productive and serves us. Many times, it keeps us off track from doing what we logically know we should be doing different, especially in new or stressful situations.
The Power of Patterns
I write about this in more depth in The Modern Seller, and one way I’ve found to understand patterns is from The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. Duhigg explains something our brains form called The Habit Loop. It’s designed to make tasks easier on our brain, essentially saving brain power. The Habit Loop has three parts: a cue, a routine, and reward.
The cue is the catalyst that kicks off the action of a routine. The reward is what comes at the end of the routine. Repeat these actions enough times, and the loop becomes “written” into our brains until it’s entirely subconscious. Whether the habit is healthy and productive or unhealthy and counterproductive, it doesn’t matter. All patterns run on this same loop, and it’s the reward that our brains crave.
An easy example is your drive to a familiar location. The cue is getting into your vehicle to head to the location. The routine is the route you take. The reward is arriving at your destination. Often we take the same route and don’t remember parts of the drive – because our brain recognizes the pattern. But when the routine is interrupted – say the route we normally take isn’t available to us – then the brain must kick in and “think” to determine another path to get to the destination.
How do you know when a productive pattern has become a rut? Here’s a tool from @amyfranko to help bust your status quo. #modernsellerClick to tweet
When Patterns Become Ruts, You Have Status Quo
How do you know when a productive pattern has become a rut? One signal is when you’re no longer seeing the results you once were. Another signal might be boredom; what once was something you had a passion for, it no longer has the same appeal. You may have reached a plateau or accomplished the goal, and you’re looking for a new challenge. When a pattern becomes a rut, that’s a signal that it’s time to bust your status quo.
A Tool to Help You Bust Your Status Quo
This quadrant tool provides a visual reference for identifying which patterns may becoming ruts. As you think about your life patterns (whether personal or professional), reflect on how they’re serving you. Do they give you high energy levels and motivation? Do you see a high level of result and value? The more they provide, the more productive the pattern. If you’re seeing diminishing returns, it might be time to reconsider how it’s serving you. A way to apply this tool is to select one of the following:
- I’d encourage you to identify one pattern that’s in the top right quadrant that you want to keep and amplify.
- Choose a pattern that can be easily improved, because in the future it will give you more energy/motivation, and results/value.
- Choose one pattern you’d like to eliminate or replace because it will never have the right level of energy/motivation or results/value.
Sometimes we need that outside perspective to point out what we can’t see. It might be a coach, a counselor, or an advisor. I had a business coach who used a phrase I’ll always remember: “You can’t read the label from the inside of the jar.”
Questions to Challenge Your Status Quo
To help you better use the self-leadership habit of busting your status quo, below are some reflections questions.
- How do I start my day?
- How do I end my day?
- What trends are emerging from my patterns?
- Am I surrounding myself with people who will support productive patterns?
- What is one game-changing pattern I’m willing to commit to creating/improving/deleting?
- What resources would help me to create improvement?
- Am I shaking things up, or am I prone to allowing patterns to become ruts?
- What is one skill I’d like to learn/improve this year?
- What hobbies or life pursuits currently provide me with energy and motivation?
- What am I doing that creates vitality in my life?
- What do I envision for myself one year from now?
I’ve heard variations of this quote over the years, and it’s a strong reminder of what we’re capable of: “We overestimate what we can accomplish in a day, and we underestimate what we can accomplish in a year.” Busting our status quo isn’t done in a day; if this is something that resonates with you and you’re committed to it, you’ll be amazed with what you can accomplish in a year.
Is Your Sales Strategy at Status Quo? We Can Help.
Amy Franko is the leader in sales strategy and sales leadership coaching, helping you to design best-in-class sales programs that accelerate growth. To significantly improve the outcomes of your sales strategy, let’s schedule a conversation. Don’t let your competition get an advantage. Contact us to schedule a conversation with Amy.