Practice is What Makes You Good

Dianne A Allen sailing

We are all beginners at different times in our lives. In fact, we were all a beginner at breathing air, crawling, walking, speaking, singing, running, eating and the like. Some people learn these things more than once in a lifetime. Practice is what makes us good.

Those people you may look up to or admire for their accomplishments were once beginners. It was their practice and dedication that has allowed them the opportunity to move forward and shine in a certain area.

In my life, I have focused on racing sailboats, quilting, spiritual development and business development to name a few areas. In some of these areas, I have excelled and spent many hours practicing and practicing.  Some of the practice was boring, some tedious, some joyful and some frustrating. Sometimes I went through the motions. Yes, I still practiced and put the effort into my knowledge, skill, and ability.

Learning and gaining knowledge is valuable. It is knowledge that gets us going and supports our path. Knowledge comes in many forms, intellectual, emotional, and experiential (sensual) as primary systems. There is also spiritual knowing that is a factor as well.

As we gain knowledge, we develop skills. Some skills take longer than others to grasp and learn then eventually master. Some skills come more natural to others. Still, skills are vital and required to make you good at anything.

Success leaves clues – coaches do help enhance and develop skills. Someone on the outside who can see places for change or improvement. Initially, the learner may tighten up or freeze and the coach is there to guide, support and instruct to help the person move through the mental block. Those who are excellent at anything, have invested 10,000 or more hours into the skills, whether you know it or not. It takes time, practice, and dedication to make the mark.

While speaking with Dave Moore who played in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he shared that he focused on his football career in college while others were out partying, he was disciplined and dedicated to his craft and sport. He shared humbly about his dedication to his decision to be excellent at the game which took countless hours of personal and professional development on and off the field. He did not magically show up in the NFL as an elite player with a 15-year career.

Ability to put the skills together for the desired outcome is where we are going with the set of skills we are rehearsing. Learning theory says to practice, practice, practice. This is vital. Trying to short circuit this basic understanding short circuits the results unless you are only seeking to be “good enough”. To be good or excellent, it takes protected and dedicated time and effort.

Being good or excellent at anything sets you apart from the people who flirt with the skill or activity. Your effort leaves clues and becomes more apparent as time passes. Your understanding, excellence and ability may get attention. It is important to remain in your personal groove and continue to grow, always with a beginner’s open mind and curiosity. This is where the visionaries tend to spend most of their time.

Visionary Leaders develop their knowledge on an ongoing basis. They are always learning from various content, even a conversation at a party may yield a breakthrough or an understanding. Books, video, audio sources are complemented by action and practice or rehearsal. Even well accomplished musicians come together and rehearse before a show. They just do.

Visionary Leaders focus on developing skills in the finer aspects that they may be attracted to develop or learn. Questions are asked and ponderings happen that may put variant ideas from variant groups together in new ways. A new creation is being birthed through the visionary who remains open and curious while learning and rehearsing skills.

This is how come so many people are seen as an “overnight success”. They put in hours of effort and focus combined with practice to then excel. We as a culture tend to focus on the outcome and marginalize the effort and dedication it takes to get the outcome. The best of the best made huge sacrifices personally and professionally.

Practice is what makes you good. It is a knowing that all people who have ever succeed at anything understand yet our brain may try to convince us there is another way, a short cut. There is no substitute for practice in any endeavor in life. Imagine if your parents stopped teaching you how to walk or showed you a short cut and tried to bypass your learning. Repetition is a secret sauce to reliable success.

Must be able to replicate your thinking and system is you want to grow or scale anything, especially your business or ideas.

Muscle confusion and being predictably unpredictable is part of strengthening your skills even further. This is how it works.

Once the muscles find the easy way to conserve energy, it will follow that. To evolve beyond, you must insert some muscle confusion to help expand that muscle, even it that muscle is your thinking. How far do you want to go?

Recreation, amateur, professional, super star/ leaders, coach, mentor are the phases we go through as we begin. First, we are exploring and trying things on to see if there is a fit or if we even like it. I always say to try something at least 3 times before saying NO.

Then we become an amateur – we know enough to know we do not know very much in the big picture and we are willing to keep learning and growing. Many people get to this phase often in their pursuits. This is a great phase as the doors of curiosity are largely open and you get to choose your trajectory and level of competence desired or attained.

Professional indicates that you are getting paid for your talent or are eligible to be paid for your talent. In sports and other areas this distinction is obvious. Professionals in any field are also growing and learning like the amateurs because they understand the value in consistent learning opportunities and using these opportunities as a ladder to greater proficiency and excellence at the craft. When a professional cease to develop on a personal and/or professional level, their skills eventually become obsolete or maybe use their edge. They never lose the skills but can become rusty at times if not engaged regularly.

Those who earn the superstar or leader qualification have exemplified great skill and focus beyond other professionals in their field. With increased longevity and diligence, the professional becomes recognized as an elite member within that discipline.

Eventually the elite member may be asked to coach people who are wanting to grow into a professional rank or excel beyond the typical professional or amateur. The coach works with the person on the particulars and helps the person excel. The coach remains focused on the specific goal and works with the person toward that single goal or level of proficiency. Training coaches, Batting Coaches, Creative coaches all help the person accomplish the goal better had they set out on their own.

Many elite level people may move into more of a mentoring role. A mentor has the skills, expertise and focus in the major life areas to help the person create their elite status while also growing and developing in all life areas. Is is not about the game or the project, it is now about our overall proficiency, mindset, belief systems and all life areas coming together to support you in attainment of the goal. A mentor’s role is all encompassing and takes the entire person and their desires and helps create, establish, and maintain a perfect balance within that will bring about the desired result. The results include winning while also being fulfilled and happy with great relationships. The entire wellbeing of the person is what matter most to the mentor whereas the coach may care about the person, yet the focus is certainly on the desired project getting completed.

It does not matter where you are on this spectrum and in what areas you focus. The truth is that your excellence lies in your willingness to follow through with your practice.

Practice helps you evolve as a person on every level. There will be that day when you see it differently or you change something, and it shows you a new way that just waiting for you to come forth and say yes!

Practice opens doors of awareness and opportunity. Practice builds confidence and supports ongoing commitment. Practice keeps us going when we want to quit. The momentum of practice helps us through the lulls in our enthusiasm.

I work with and interview gifted people from all areas of life who have varied gifted qualities, and everyone reports that practice is essential to their daily life. Practice in their spiritual area as well as practice of their craft. What makes them elite and a great mentor is their dedication to practice. This dedication includes being open minded and attentive.

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