Want that light at the end of the tunnel? The next big win? The next leap in performance? Your own self-development is the key. You need to favor practice and habit learning as your top developmental work to start. You won’t self-develop with out a system in place that gets you there. Micro-routines.
We have cues in our everyday work and life we can learn from if we could just pause long enough to take it all in. We think development is mostly going to only happen in the sense like it did with formalized school. We have to be in a class, or take a class, or sign up for a development service to get development. In my honest experience, I’ve had my best development by learning simple exercises, micro behaviors, and a system of routines as a means for all the formal learning time I could ever want – everyday!
The great thing about great leadership skills that you want to learn for work or for use in your community are not something that you’re born into or predispositioned to have. If it was, I wouldn’t be here. It can be learned. Over 70% of the qualities associated with the best leaders of our century are now known to have been learned behaviors. This means ANYONE can do it. Grabbing feedback, asking colleagues how and what, and setting reminders for yourself to find time to do it everyday will build confidence as well as strengthen future relationships are all examples.
You can also do this in just 5 minutes each day. That’s all it takes.
I didn’t go out and run a full marathon right out of the gates. I started with run-walking for a few miles, then did 5ks, then did 10ks, and then halves until I could finally take on a marathon. Same concept. Breaking the work and skill development you want into smaller chunks gives you the practice you need to master it. Does it take longer? Yes. The picture below is my daily routine which is something I reflect, add, and subtract to monthly as things come up.
Creating and following these “rituals” daily is another method to build acumen around a skill. I wanted to create a skill that made me more productive and feel like I had less on my list of priorities to do. By taking off my list the things I do ritually each day on auto pilot, levels the playing field for the work that’s most productive or important. For example, I knew I needed to get up at least two hours early to achieve my morning routine. I found I was no longer sacrificing or feeling guilty about not getting time to do what I loved to do as the routines became easier and easier to complete.
As you build these micro behaviors and rituals you will find some link together to build a better, bigger impacting habit. Some of those things like the 5 Minute Journal and 12oz of water are also micro skills to make me physically and mentally healthier. My goal was to be healthier daily so I could more optimized. These linked rituals served that purpose. It’s not easy and it takes months to stick. Once they’re set and you keep them, you’ll see the change in yourself you envisioned.
“It takes an average of 66 days to form a new fully automatic micro behavior.”
– Martin Lanik
When I’ve went after something I’ve wanted to master to improve my leadership capacity I’ve looked for common things in the habit by listing all the requirements underneath the habit I want. These on their own can even be the micro habits to achieve the linked bigger one. Literally, by simply bullet pointing out the behaviors of others that were masters of this skill, in time I identified the common theme they all exhibited. This was the key stone habit or the biggest habit I would then start the work around. I knew, tackling this common habit first, the others I needed would come easier.
Going all in step by step, in small chunks, and creating a simple system of micro behaviors one good habit at a time you will start to see a network of good habits bind together to create a big one. It’s not about formal ways of finding knowledge in today’s rich world of getting an education anywhere. If you can change the way you respond to your days, even for 5 minutes at a clip, it’s completely achievable to create world class skills that can make you a top leader for your work or community.