Old Habits Die Hard

In a recent yoga class we were asked to switch the cross of our legs and change how we intertwine our fingers so the other thumb is on top. It wasn’t easy to do and it felt very uncomfortable. It reminded me that habits are so deeply engrained in us.

I thought of how long it’s taken me to remember to not only put my reusable bags in the car, but to take them into the store with me. How many times have I gotten to the cash register only to remember my bags are at home? Argh! But, little by little it’s getting easier to remember them.

Another habit that is hard to change, but is necessary, is remembering to turn your cell phone off in meetings, performances, restaurants, etc.; anywhere where the ringing of your phone is going to disturb someone.

Did you hear the story about somebody’s cell phone going off not once but twice during the Broadway play Hugh Jackman was in? Hugh even broke character and asked twice that the phone be shut off. Wow, how embarrassing for the guy with the cell phone!

It is simply not acceptable to keep your cell phone on anyplace where it will disturb someone or when you’re meeting with people. However, I know it’s easy to forget to turn your phone off when you walk into these situations. So what can you do to remember?

To remember to bring my bags to the grocery store I had to put them in a very prominent place at home so I wouldn’t miss them. Then, in the car, it helped to put them in the backseat rather than the trunk so I could see them as I was getting out of the car.

With your cell phone you could cultivate the habit of turning it off as you walk through the door of a building when you’re meeting with others or whenever you sit down. For me, I recall how embarrassing it is to have my phone go off in the aforementioned places and it’s enough to remind me to turn it off.

Whatever it takes to remember to turn it off, I encourage you to employ those tactics. You don’t want to be the person slinking in your seat as your phone rings during an important meeting or performance, especially when the star is going to further embarrass you by asking you to turn it off.

Old habits die hard, but they do die. So kill the cell-phone-on habit before it kills your professional reputation.

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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