Once you decide that staying the same won’t cut it and get excited about a different future, it’s time to get practical. No athlete maximizes their potential with vague wishes. And despite our romantic notions, few artists create a masterpiece accidentally.
These people have a process. And they come to love the process. (For instance, this classic essay outlines the system Scott Adams used to discover Dilbert.) They get very specific about what they’re working on, what it will take to be great, and they start to practice. They’ll often talk at great length about their process, almost to the exclusion of results. They know that’s how change happens.
This can work for us, too. But it requires a choice. It means we will have to get painfully specific about what we want to see change. You can start with this list of unhelpful leadership habits I see regularly in my work. It’s not exhaustive, so you can add your own if it’s missing.
Then, pick a practice that will work against that habit. Embrace that practice. Study it. Start a streak of days that you work on it. Tell your crew about it. Let it be the antidote to the habit that is poisoning your contribution.
This is where The Grind is our friend again. You’ll get a lot of repetitions, a lot of looks at that pattern. Little by little, you’ll start to change. That’s the process.