I grab a quick restroom break before my last presentation and am at the sink washing my hands. Turning the water on, I notice a toilet paper strip lying under the sink. As I step away to dry my hands, the toilet paper is stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Kicking my foot and sliding it against the floor, I focus on grabbing the towels to dry my hands. 

As I approach the door, something still doesn’t feel right. Glancing down, I see the toilet paper stuck to my other shoe. The last thing I need is to walk out in front of this audience with toilet paper stringing behind me. Ha!

After disposing of the toilet paper, I step out of the restroom and do a second check before proceeding to the meeting room.  Better safe than sorry. Missing the toilet paper stuck to my other shoe would have been so easy. It’s one of those things we might overlook altogether but something that other people immediately see.  

Isn’t this true about our leadership mistakes and bad habits? Our team members see them clearly, but we are often oblivious to them. I’ve also noticed that it’s hard to quickly shake off some bad habits. I have to be intentional to rid myself of these clingy bad habits.   

The ability to see our “toilet paper” starts with self-awareness. It is one of the greatest strengths for anyone to reach their full potential.  Habits, especially bad ones, are tough to break. It takes 21+ days of focused, intentional behaviors to bend that habit curve.

How do we grow our self-awareness and rid ourselves of bad habits? Feedback! We must ask for and act on feedback that will help us find our full potential. 

CeCe, do I have any toilet paper hanging on my shoe?

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Joey Havens, CPA is the author of Leading with Significance. He is currently a partner with HORNE LLP a top 25 CPA firm. He previously served as managing partner of the firm from 2012 to 2021, leading more than 1,800 team members to build the Wise Firm© while passionately living out his life’s calling to help others see and reach their full potential. Prior to being named managing partner in 2012, Joey served as the managing partner of healthcare services and the managing partner of government services, respectively.

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