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Changing Your Habitual Response Is Powerful and Important

These days, the most common response people give when asked how they are, is “Busy!”

(this is especially true for leaders in schools). Whilst the response is without doubt true and accurate, it isn’t helpful. Everyone these days is “Busy!” Even under performing staff are “busy”. The problem is, they are busy doing the wrong things.


If your habitual response when asked how you are is “busy”, it is time to change that auto response. People don’t care how busy YOU are, they care how busy THEY are.


I remember early in my career as a Principal attending a keynote by Patricia Cameron-Hill at a QASSP conference. In the 90’s the most common responses were either “not bad!” or “I’ve been worse!” Cameron-Hills advice was to replace these habitual responses with something more positive and upbeat. Her recommendation was to respond, “Turbo-charged” accompanied by a circular hand gesture like a propellor with an accompanying “Woop-woop!’ sound effect.


Whilst Patricia Cameron-Hill’s recommendation was a little too far for me, I managed to replace my old habitual response of ‘not bad’ with ‘awesome’. Believe me it’s hard to respond with the word ‘awesome’ without the accompanying lift of energy.


I challenge you to try it next time you are at a supermarket check-out. You might be surprised by the reaction you get from the check-out operator.


This is important, especially in the final term of the school year. Attitudes are contagious and the most contagious are the attitudes of the leaders in the school. Other people ‘catch’ your attitude. Far better to spread a positive, optimistic and energetic attitude than the dull and inevitable ‘busy’ response.


If your habitual response is ‘busy’ try replacing it with ‘awesome’ and perhaps add “…and determined to finish strong!