Just Start … Walking the Path of Conscious Leadership

Ron Hill, Rich Roll & Alec Hill
circa September 2019

True Confession: I am a big fan and regular listener of the Rich Roll Podcast. In fact, I attended a live version of his podcast, where Rich read a letter from me as his opening to the event. That was a magical moment for my son and me. The link is at the bottom.

As a leader who once wanted to plan out every detail before I leapt forward, the idea of taking small steps to accomplish big things now feels just right. Walking the path of conscious leadership is no different.

In this blog, I refer to Rich Roll Podcast #820, in which he talks with Dr. Layne Norton. This episode inspired me to write about how we might start walking along the path of conscious leadership before we even know where it’s taking us. By allowing our transformation to unfold before us, we learn from the journey instead of getting stuck in the wet concrete of our minds without advancing forward.


Just Start Walking

How many self-help books will you reach for before you start doing “the thing?” Are you ready to start walking the path of conscious leadership, or will you keep scrolling through motivational quotes, podcasts, and frameworks before you lace up your shoes and walk the path you’ve been dreaming of? 

In his conversation with podcast host Rich Roll, Dr. Layne Norton cuts to the heart of this question, challenging us to stop waiting for the perfect moment and just start doing the work.

The Problem with Over-Consumption

There’s wisdom in gathering knowledge, but we’ve reached a tipping point where consumption is eclipsing action. As Norton mentioned, the allure of self-help content has created a culture where we’re so focused on preparing for greatness that we forget to do great things. 

Meanwhile, James Clear’s iconic “Atomic Habits” reminds us that consistent, small habits can lead to transformative change. If you want to be a runner, don’t obsess over perfect training plans or finding the best gear. Just put on your shoes and run.

Clear’s core message is that tiny habits become rituals, and rituals shape our identity. If you want to become a conscious leader, don’t endlessly theorize about what that means. Instead, start taking small, actionable steps every day that embody conscious leadership.

The Power of Starting Small

Rich Roll and Dr. Layne Norton touched on the habit loops that can derail us from perfectionism to procrastination. But let’s flip the script and focus on the power of starting small:

  1. Clarify Your Intentions – Take five minutes to identify what conscious leadership means to you. What values will you embody? What impact will you make? What’s the difference you want to make in the world?
  2. Establish Micro-Habits – James Clear’s principle of “two-minute habits” is a game-changer. Want to be a better communicator? Dedicate two minutes each morning to journaling your thoughts. Aspire to lead courageously? Spend two minutes daily thinking about how to ask better questions. Want to lead more mindfully? Start with sitting quietly for two minutes.
  3. Celebrate the Process – Every step counts. When you lace up your shoes, celebrate the intention. When you write those two minutes, acknowledge your growth. Cultivate an adventurous and playful spirit toward your journey.

From Habits to Identity

By consistently practicing these habits, you’re not just ticking off boxes. You’re embodying the leader you want to become. Clear’s idea of “identity-based habits” suggests that our actions shape our beliefs about who we are. 

So, when you get up every morning and put on your running shoes, you’re not just preparing to run—you are a runner. Eventually, your habits will become rituals, and those rituals will cement your identity as a conscious leader.

The Courage to Be Bold

Be courageous. Give yourself permission to walk your path imperfectly. Start where you are, whether that means picking up a journal or scheduling a five-minute call with a mentor. The road to conscious leadership is paved with intentional, consistent actions. Don’t wait for the conditions to be just right or the inspiration to strike.

When Dr. Norton asked, “How many self-help books will you reach for before you just start doing ‘the thing?,'” he was issuing a challenge that resonates deeply with conscious leadership. Be bold, confident, and strategic. Move from knowing to doing. The only way forward is to start walking.

Strategic Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is your compass in the pursuit of conscious leadership. Take a cue from Clear’s habit-tracking strategies or Roll’s reflective journaling practices. Find your own way to stay on course and course-correct as needed. Strategy isn’t just about grand plans but also about the wisdom to adapt as you go.

Collaborative Courage

Don’t walk the path of conscious leadership alone. Seek out allies who share your vision or challenge you to think bigger. Collaborate courageously with those who inspire you, and approach each conversation with curiosity and empathy. Together, we can amplify our impact and create a more conscious, inclusive world.

Embrace the Adventure

Leadership is a journey, and the road ahead is filled with unknowns. Embrace the thrill of exploration and keep your eyes on the horizon. Roll’s athletic journey is a testament to reinvention, and Norton’s tenacity in science reflects the power of persistence. They’ve walked their paths boldly and now it’s your turn.

For me, there is a balance between preparation for the journey and the journey itself. Do your homework and start moving simultaneously; once you commit to the journey of a lifetime (work with no end), the path will emerge.

Just start walking the path. Whether you’re writing, coaching, speaking, or leading a team, embody the bold, forward-thinking, and wise leader the world needs. Your journey matters, so lace up and move with purpose. Remember, the path to greatness is made one conscious step at a time.


Feel free to reach out for additional insights or share your journey in the comments. Let’s walk this path together.

In this blog, I mentioned Rich Roll, RR Podcast #820, Dr. Layne Norton, James Clear, and RR Podcast #473 (22:14 is where Rich reads my letter at a live podcast event in late 2019)

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