Know That ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get You There’


I have always believed that our behaviors and habits show what we really think.

The real communication with your surrounding takes place not with what you say, but with what you do. With your behaviors and habits.

The question is if you are aware of the message you spread and if it is the right message.

That’s what Marshall Goldsmith’s book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is about.

Although rooted in the professional context, it is full of great observations and actionable insights regarding habits in general. I will share with you just a sample of them.

What bad habits can really mean to you

Wherever you are with your success, you probably can attribute it to what you did in the past or you do in the present. The question here is if what you do (your habits) are really supporting you or not. Marshall Goldsmith puts it this way: did you succeed because of your habits or despite of them?

You might actually attribute your success wrongly to behaviors that do not really help you. Which means that if you modified those habits, you could be even more successful.

You can find the link to the Top 20 bad habits as identified by Marshall Goldsmith here.

See yourself against the list.

There are two problems here. One is that we might be not aware of them. Two is that we often interpret our behaviors in a different (more positive) way than other people exposed to them do.

The idea here is to be aware of what we do and to which degree it supports us.

My bad habits Marshall Goldsmith helped me identify

I always work actively with what I study. So I decided to see myself against the list. Here are three bad habits that I identified in myself.

  1. Making destructive comments (#4) My sarcasm can kill any great and enthusiastic idea. Somewhere there, internally, I can even be proud of it.
  2. Speaking when angry (#7) When I am angry, what I want to tell seems to be the most important thing in the universe. Well, it is not.
  3. Failing to express gratitude (#17) Even when I feel thankful to someone and tell it myself, I still can refrain from expressing it clearly by saying “Thank you”. I have no idea why.

It’s not that I was not aware of them before, but now I know it’s time to deal with them once and forever. Using Marshall Goldsmith’s advice, of course.

Here are three concepts that Marshall Goldsmith writes about and I believe will help:

  1. Feedback and Feedforward

I wrote about those two before.

If you want to change (your habits), feedback will show you where you are. But what is more important, feedforward will show you where to go. I love the key question here: How can I do better? As a boss, as a team member, as a partner, as a parent.

  1. Gratitude

I believe the words “thank you” appear most often in the book. As you can see how they operate in various contexts, you understand their power and you permeate with them. They are a physical manifestation of your humility in asking for help and your gratitude for receiving it from others. Even if sometimes you might not deserve it.

  1. Follow-up

People don’t get better without a follow-up. If you decide to change, that’s just the beginning of your journey. It’s only with persistent follow-up that you can modify your habits so that they serve you better.

As habits are one of four keys to the Life Puzzle, I believe it is vital to understand how they work. And it’s even more important to understand how you can develop them in the right direction. So that they serve you to be, do and have more of what you want in life.

Good habits 🙂

– Marcin

Grow with my personal development books available at

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