Bounds-bite: “First, forget inspiration”

6th March 2014

When people want to improve, they often seek inspiration. And so we should.

But inspiration isn’t enough on its own. In fact, when author Octavia Butler was asked how she managed to be so consistently productive, she replied “First, forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. It will sustain you, whether you’re inspired or not”.

I love the accuracy of this quote (ok, it might not be the most inspiring, but that’s the point!). If we want to improve in the long-term, we have to change how we behave in the long-term. And, as she says, inspiration is finite. That’s why diets, New Year’s resolutions etc fail.

So, do you want to improve how you communicate in the long-term? If so, take action to make the improvements a habit. For example:

  • recurring diary reminders
  • ask your colleagues to remind you when you forget
  • tell your boss you want to be formally appraised on your communication skills
  • change your team meetings’ standard agenda to include a regular item “biggest communication success since we last met”
  • create templates to insert content into
  • create ticklists to make sure you never forget the important things…

You don’t have to do all these. But, if you want to improve in the long-term, you’ll have to more than none. After all, inspiration alone is never enough.

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