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10 Ideas From a Conversation Between Brene Brown and James Clear (152/365)

Today’s #LearningLeadership365 post is a little bit different than usual. After listening to a 2-part episode of @BreneBrown’s Dare to Lead podcast with @JamesClear, I decided to try writing a thread.

Here it goes!

By now, you know about Atomic Habits by @JamesClear. And you’ve listened to the Dare to Lead podcast with @BreneBrown. But have you ever imagined a conversation between them? You’re in luck! Based on a recent 2-part podcast episode, here are 10 ideas pushing my thinking:

Idea 1: Goals are easy. But they are finite, which is why we often fail to achieve them. Instead, think infinite. Build the system that executes on the goal.

Idea 2: Don’t focus on achieving a goal. Instead, focus on building a system (a process). Ask yourself: What am I trying to optimize?

Idea 3: “You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” -

@JamesClear Your goal: your desired outcome. Your system: the collection of daily habits that you follow. Your current habits are perfectly designed for your current results.

Idea 4: Identity-based habits are key. Don’t start with the result that you want or the outcome you’re trying to achieve. Instead: Start with the type of person you want to become. Ask: • Who’s the type of person who can _____ [your goal] ? • What would that person do?

Idea 5: Consistency matters. • Start casting votes. • Start putting in “the reps”. • Just start. Even if it’s 2 minutes a day, or 10 reps. Your habits can either build you up or cut you down. You can be the architect or you can be the victim. Be the architect.

Idea 6: Consistency > Intensity Master the art of “showing up” and build from there. Repetition builds gradual momentum/evidence of progress. Put in “the reps”. A habit must be established before it’s optimized. Eventually, the action itself becomes it’s own reward.

Idea 7: Don’t get stuck. Focus less on results, more on daily actions that reinforce the identity you’re building. Don’t confuse motion for action. • Motion: talking to a personal trainer • Action: doing 10 squats Caution: Planning can become a form of procrastination.

Idea 8: Seek evidence of progress in other areas. Acorn > sapling > immature tree > Massive Oak Tree An acorn that keeps growing eventually becomes a mighty oak. Take the first step. Commit to daily reps. “The heaviest weight at the gym is the front door.” —


Idea 9: Mind the gap. A popular idea in organizations is, “My habits are fine. It’s theirs that need fixing.” How do leaders help teams build better habits? • Narrow the focus • Up the quality • Increase the speed When a gap exists between goals and habits, habits win.

Idea 10: Who doesn’t want to be a little bit better than before?

@JamesClear: “Everything that I write about is mostly a reminder to myself of what I should be doing.”

@BreneBrown: “Same.”

When in doubt, ask yourself this question: What would a person focused on _____ do?)

TL;DR: • Focus on building systems, not goals • Identity-based habits are key • Prioritize consistency over intensity • Don’t confuse motion for action • Everyday examples of progress surround us; seek them out • Mind the goals/habits gap • Everyone wants to improve.

Did you find these takeaways helpful?

If so: • Retweet the first tweet at the top of this thread. • Visit… to listen to @JamesClear & @BreneBrown talk Atomic Habits • Follow @schug_dennis to read my 365 day shipping journey:



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