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When you’re mastering the art of high-performance and enviable professionalism, good habits count. And when I say habit I mean “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.”

Take for example introductions: When was the last time someone introduced you in such a warm and thoughtful way that it was a cinch to get a conversation going? Take the initiative to introduce people to one another. Talk up their strengths, interesting background, common interests…go on, give them a little verbal push. That’s the kind of habit that has leadership written all over it.

A sampling of other habits worth acquiring:

Please drop the worn-out and off-putting response “I’m so busy” when asked how things are going…like, sigh, who’s not busy?

Let people know how much you admire them. Whether you are acknowledging their character, analytic thinking, fashion sense or just their fantastic attitude about life, make it a point to let people know you get it. I can’t think of another habit that does as much good…acknowledging someone’s strengths is not only empowering for them, it’s a reflection of your humanity.

Keep your personal database up-to-date on your professional accomplishments and stay abreast of others’. It’s a lot easier to reach out for assistance or advice when you’ve been in touch within the last 12 months.

Change the subject line on an email to reflect the message’s content. Most of the emails I receive include my original subject or (gasp) no subject. I chalk that up to laziness and a missed opportunity. An intriguing or informative subject line gets my immediate response. Which would you read first: A subject line that says “Hi” or “Please Join Us In Our Box at Carnegie Hall”?

Walk out of the room when receiving a cell phone call (or better yet, ignore it.) Beautiful habit.

Who invited the negative and counterproductive voice inside your head? Break the habit and make sure that you’re listening to a steady stream of positive and encouraging thoughts.

Stay in touch with your inner just-graduated-from-college-and-need-a-foot-in-the-door former self. Every once in a while make it a habit to remember those stomach-churning days when a returned phone call or an invitation for coffee would have lifted your spirits.

Have a little chat with the person that’s pumping your gas, bagging your groceries, parking your car, shining your shoes and delivering the mail…habit-forming.

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