Why do we speak of the “practice” of law, of medicine?
If your physician is still “in practice,” has he or she “practiced” enough to treat you?
I’ve said before, and believe deeply, that life is about continual improvement. And to achieve this, we have to be committed lifetime learners.
The other evening, I went to a Yoga class. Learning Yoga is a lot like learning to walk – we stumble and fall, we pick ourselves up. We fall again. We waddle, holding on to things; we walk, but unsteadily. The process is never absolutely perfected, but we walk – it becomes an integral part of us. But to get to that point, we have to persist, and practice.
Learning Yoga as an adult, I know it takes consistent discipline, persistence, practice. So does any skill, any craft. And we have to practice the skill, deliberately, to gain proficiency.
Practice isn’t always fun. But proficiency can be! And to get there, practice isn’t optional – it is mandatory. Spend time consciously working to gain a new skill, or improve an existing one, and you will see the payoffs – in productivity, satisfaction, opportunity. This makes intuitive sense to us when it comes to music, other arts, athletics. But it is also true, I think, of many of the skills we use in business.
Why would it not be?
Writing – and business requires more of that than it used to – gets easier, and your prose gets better, the more you write. Put your writing out there, and you also get feedback – which is invaluable.
Negotiation is a skill; spend time learning how to respond to every counterpoint, and that skill improves.
Yet, all too often, our tendency is to cut practice-corners. To rush into attempting to perform at a level beyond our skill, trusting that the experience itself will produce the result we want.
But spending 30 to 60 focused minutes, several times per week, on honing one’s craft is a far more reliable method of attaining the result we want – and often a much quicker one.
That’s one reason I keep a journal; it’s probably also why writing gets easier for me with every blog post.
How do you practice your craft, your skill? Please click here to email me directly – I would love to know your experiences.
Until next Wednesday –