When you decide that you want to improve. You MUST practice every… single… day. Consistent, everyday practice creates more stamina, a complete skill set and therefore confidence.
Let me start this with a real-life event. My wife and I enjoy going to the gym together. Sometimes we work out on our own, sometimes we take classes. We have been out of the gym for about ten days, I could easily offer various excuses – but let’s just keep it simple and call it “life.” So when we show up today to do our normal kickboxing class – it was tough, really tough. Neither of us had the stamina we normally have. And for me without stamina, I lost desire, and on top of that, I think I probably put on a few pounds, IN TEN DAYS! – and let’s just say, fortunately, the instructor, or coach, is awesome, because if he wasn’t I likely wouldn’t have made it out the other side of 60 minutes.
This experience really made me realize how quickly we lose our basics, our simple skills, that we become accustomed to in everyday use. Not only does this apply to examples like the one I just gave, but in business as well.
Many people, I’ll just say it, once they feel that they have “made it” – you know, they put in their 10,000 hours of deliberate practice… then they stop practicing, and practicing is often the thing that made them great and got them to where they are at in the first place. People that practice and maintain a learning mentality are the ones that excel the most. They see success, practice more, see more success, get results, you get the idea.
I’m going to share with you 5 tactical things You Can Do To Practice that will help you to Learn and Improve! So here’s the deal – WRITE THESE DOWN (please)
- Choose the right mentor(s). If you want to improve in an area, you must learn from people that are better than you are. While a lateral peer may have something to offer sometimes, you can’t get better from more of the same. But mostly you want to be deliberate about choosing people who are headed to where you want to go. People who are growing and learning, people who display excellence.
- Show up. While “perfect practice” may be what you can walk through in your head, or a meditation, or watching another expert do the task. You MUST show up, physically, even when you don’t want to, including while you are still not as good as you want to be. Show up, excellence happens over time.
- Consume The Right Data. Read books on the subject you want to improve on. Find relevant trade magazines. Watch videos. Google shit. Google is a magnificent learning tool. Listen to audiobooks on your business or subject. Take notes while you are doing these things. When you take the time to write things down they are more important and you will remember and recall better.
- Be Observant. Being observant is different than just watching something. Observation means you are watching the action, but also watching the environment, listening, engaging ALL of your senses. Engaging the material as if everything in the material is significant. Being deliberate about your learning.
- When you play, play to WIN. In sales for example. I appreciate building the relationship, looking at the long-term and repeat business. I’m all for that. When it comes to sales, I’m all for SELLING! Sell the product, that is what puts “points on the board…” your results! So you are not just showing up to be a resource and make a lot of great connections. You are there to produce a result. FOR EXAMPLE, You don’t want to just hop into the ring in a boxing match. That is a recipe for a pummeling. You show up as a competitor. So make work fun, and when it’s fun and playful, remember the end goal is to produce your result and get the win. Because when you are winning, that is fun.
So then… how much should you be practicing? A lot. Every day you should be taking one of those 5 things I mentioned and be executing on them. So every day… 2, 3, 4 or more hours a day in my opinion. I know in business it can’t all just suddenly stop so you can practice, you have customers, B2B sales, other things going on. Certainly, some things can be practiced in that last step, while you are playing (to WIN), i.e. while you are working. Here are a few examples.
NCAA restricts collegiate practice to 20 hours per week during the season. Post-college level, professional athletes practice at 40 hours per week, and sometimes more.
10,000 hours of deliberate practice is what creates a level of expertise – or when someone is considered an “expert.”
Deliberate practice – meaning you have to narrow it down to the finite. BE specific.
Are you doing that in your life, specifically in your business? Are you being deliberate about practice, what do you want to learn, where do you want to improve? What 1 new skill will you work on today.
Once you’ve entered the business world, it would take you 250 weeks at work, practicing, or basically 5 years or likely more than that to become an expert. That is if you spent some 40 hours a week practicing your craft. The skills that go with that in business and so on. And the reality is that people don’t spend that much time practicing in business… they spend time working, performing the tasks that they are assumed to be good at. They learn along the way. Which let’s talk about sales, for example, means part of the time you are “practicing on real-life customers.” That can’t be deliberate practice because when you are dealing with other humans, each situation is unique. You can’t recreate a duplicate situation with a different person.
So make deliberate practice important. There is power in practice.