I was told when I was new that just saying I was willing was not enough. I had to demonstrate my willingness by doing the things suggested. Today most of what is suggested like going to meetings, socializing with other alcoholics and sharing my ESH doesn't require much willingness because by now these things are comfortable, even fun. I might be able to stay sober on meetings and fellowship alone but I don't believe I can grow spiritually. And if I'm not growing, chances are I'm slowly slipping backwards into the cesspool of my own thinking.
I demonstrate my willingness to grow when I make the effort to see myself as I really am and to become "cleaner" inside. The steps help me do this. I grow when I sit with uncomfortable feelings instead of running away or numbing out. I grow when I try to understand the messages that the fear and anger bring. I grow when I am willing to look honestly at myself, to search for my part in every disturbance, to admit when I am wrong and make amends.
A part of me doesn't want to do these things. A part of me wants to fall back to sleep in the childish illusion that my life will succeed by doing only the things I enjoy. And sometimes I do fall back asleep, I'm no saint. But sooner or later I realize that when I do fall back asleep I just stay stuck and the same lesson will just keep presenting itself over and over until I finally get it. There's no escape.
If I'm paying attention I notice that every day life hands me many opportunities to look at myself and grow. The main thing for me is to be willing to look in the mirror when it is handed to me.