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Bad Habits

Bad Habits

Hello and good day!

Over the years, I've read a fair amount of literature about how successful people become successful.

Define success however you want it.Money, health, career, family, relationships, the pathway to success appears to be the same in all cases.

A person has to have the right habits. Human beings are surprisingly habit driven. We repeat many of the same routines and rituals day in and day out, week after week, year after year, without even realizing it. Once a habit is set, your brain activates it and your body carries it out with very little conscious effort on your part.

Forming new habits is hard.

Breaking old habits is even harder.

If you've managed to form good habits that lead to your desired outcomes, success is almost guaranteed. Likewise, bad habits doom you to failure.

I've known for many years how much my wife likes me to bring her flowers. Given that knowledge, it's outright embarrassing how few times I've actually done it.

When I honestly run the numbers and consider how many days there are in a year, and then think about how cheap and easy it is to bring a bouquet home, I am forced to accept that my track record is absolutely pathetic.

I've probably averaged five bouquets a year for the last twenty years (the photo above is of me and Nery twenty-one years ago).That comes out to one bouquet every seventy-three days.

It takes five minutes to go into a store and buy flowers and flowers are ubiquitous. They can easily be found on the way from anywhere to everywhere. Despite that, I've only managed five minutes every seventy-three days for the last twenty years. That's just not good enough. My lovely wife deserves better than that.

And if we're being honest, there are a lot of men in relationships out there who are doing even worse than I am.

What makes the whole thing even sadder is that I've wanted to buy flowers for my wife so many times but failed to do so. I've had good intentions. My heart was in the right place.

But I didn't execute and as a result I missed out on my desired outcome, the special little twinkle my wife gets in her eyes sometimes, the light blush in her face, her toothy smile, a soft hug and a lean of her head against my chest, an appreciative little sigh letting me know that she knows how much I care.

The problem of course has been my habits.

It fits my schedule to buy flowers on the way home from work.But the drive home from work is already powered by its own routines and rituals. I usually call my dad every day during the ride to catch up on business and life.

I make a left turn out of the same driveway and then hang a right in front of the park. There is always traffic at the stoplight before getting on the highway. I look over at the new middle school up on the hill. I contemplate the pine forests and the small mountains along the side of the road and think about how everything used to be nature. Down the final stretch I drive through the valley and around the lake and see how the pale blue and orange dusk sky reflects on the dark water.

On clear days I see Mount Ranier straight ahead of me before I turn down my street. It's the same thing every day and flowers aren't a part of it.

Then I walk in the door and see my wife and lament that I've gone another day without doing what I should have done. As such, lately, I've been making a very strong effort to build up stopping for flowers as a habit.

I only need to form the habit once. Once it's locked in, buying flowers will be easier than not buying flowers. Since flowers last about a week, I've chosen a day each week and by gum I will stick to that day until it becomes automatic.

Here is another habit I am going to break.

I am going to stop walking around with a sign promoting our business.

Instead, I am going to spend that time inside of our shop hanging out with customers. This will hard for me.I've spent most afternoons for the last two years walking around our neighborhood trying to get the word out.

Our wholesale business almost went under in 2020 during the pandemic and I have been paranoid since then that our new customers might grow tired of us.

That being the case, I have felt constant pressure to bring in more new customers, just in case. 500 cacao farm families depend on us for their income, and we can't risk coming up short.

Thankfully, I can feel in my heart that we are now out of harm's way.

Most businesses don't develop a strong enough sales and marketing habit in the beginning to firmly establish their market. We didn't have that problem.

From 2010 to 2020 I was already in the habit of spending most of my days doing sales work to build our wholesale business. I was in good selling shape to oversee the pivot from wholesaling to ecommerce and retailing.

However, I can see now that there is harm in persisting in a sales habit when the time has come to double down on service and delighting existing customers.

We've reached that stage.

Nothing makes me prouder than when customers tell us what a friendly and attentive team we have. I feel the calling now to make sure that our standard of service never wavers.And so, I will stow the sign and work the counter.

If you'd like to verify whether I am staying true to my proclamations, I will be in our retail shop from roughly 1:30pm to 5:00pm every weekday. then from 9:30am to 2:30 pm with my brother Brian every Saturday morning.

Nery works every other Sunday afternoon. If you see her, feel free to ask if I stayed true to bringing her flowers every week.That will keep me on the up and up until the habit locks in.

Thank you so much for your time today.  hope that you have a truly blessed day!