Weekender: Jeff Bridges on Practicing Good Habits

jeff bridgesWelcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a rug of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why a rug? Because that rug really tied the room together (and it’s the weekend)!

Would you describe your leadership style as discipline-based or more guided by gut reaction? If you choose the latter, consider what Jeff Bridges was once told by legendary actor (and his father) Lloyd Bridges.

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Bridges was asked what advice he wished he had received when beginning his career. He responded:

I got the advice — I just didn’t take it! My dad would say, ‘It’s all about habit, Jeff. You gotta get into good habits.’ And I said, ‘No, Dad, you gotta live each moment. Live it as the first one and be fresh.’ And he says, ‘That’s a wonderful thought, but that’s not what we are. We are habitual creatures. It’s about developing these grooves.’ As I age, I can see his point. What you practice, that’s what you become.

I’d like to think that a zen-like (aka Lebowski-like) style would be preferable in the workplace, but implementation and intent are not always congruent. Ad hoc decision making leads to inconsistent leadership, confusion amongst the team, and a lack of focus. If your staff cannot rely on a reliable message, they cannot help you follow through on any long-term objectives.

You and your staff are habitual creatures. Provide and practice habits that fulfill your grandiose vision. It takes discipline and foresight, but as Lloyd Bridges said, “What you practice, that’s what you become.”