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There are two kinds of people in the world; those who think there are two kinds of people, and those who know it’s not that simple. - Anonymous

How do you prevent habits and patterns from continuing to thwart your career success? How do you gain more freedom to reach your highest potential both at work and at home? Patterns are destructive because they are invisible – they inform your responses to events without you even realizing it.

The first step to overcoming these patterns, is to become aware of them. I discuss this at length in my book, “Don’t Bring It to Work,” and once you identify which specific patterns define your behavior, you can understand how they arose and then take specific actions to transform them.

Becoming aware of our patterns is more easily said than done. We rarely take the opportunity to notice our own behavior. The best thing we can do for ourselves, our families, our coworkers, and for future generations is to take ourselves off autopilot and begin our own redesign process.

Pattern awareness is an important skill of emotionally and socially intelligent leaders and puts you in a strong position to guide your team and your company. Your ability to discern patterns and habits shortens the amount of time you have to spend resolving conflicts and helps limit the depth of upset that occurs.

All relationships are based on the ebb and flow of interactions; by becoming aware of the major thirteen patterns, you’ll possess a much deeper understanding of how you and your colleagues react unconsciously and counter-productively to everyday pressures.

The list of thirteen most common patterns in the workplace is the product of my decades of experience coaching executives and teams. I see a wide variety of people express these behaviors again and again in as many contexts as you can imagine. We all have a predilection toward two or three patterns that have become ingrained, although most of us can relate to all of them at one time or another. To bring patterns to life, I will be presenting them in a series of blogs in a personified form, as a collection of characters that will be familiar to anyone who has ever worked in an office:

  1. Super-Achiever
  2. Rebel
  3. Procrastinator
  4. Clown
  5. Persecutor
  6. Victim
  7. Rescuer
  8. Drama Queen/King
  9. Martyr
  10. Pleaser
  11. Avoider
  12. Denier
  13. Splitter

The mere mention of some of these might call to mind specific behaviors you've seen in your coworkers.

Patterns are “repetitive reactions that keep us stuck in the world of 'always' and 'never'”. Patterns are self-fulfilling prophecies. So today, change one thing in your patterned routine.

Please visit my website at and take the PatternAware™ Quiz. It is a little bit uncomfortable to own your pattern, yet you will experience the beginning of a new way to communicate, and it will be highly rewarding and will give you a chance to begin to change and transform yourself into the leader you are meant to be!

So today, try to change one thing in your daily routine. Maybe it is as simple as having a cup of tea instead of a cup of coffee, or maybe instead of opening your morning meeting with your remarks, hold them until the end of the meeting. Answer your phone differently today.

We will be addressing our habits and patterns and turning them into healthier, more effective, more productive opposites, so stay tuned.

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