“An Ounce of Practice is Worth More than Tons of Preaching.” Mahatma Gandhi
I am a big fan of practice. Even as a kid, I loved going to practice whether it was basketball, orchestra or choir. As an adult learner, I love role plays, visualization and preparation. I am fortunate to have wonderful colleagues that welcome my phone calls when I need to discuss and practice a new concept, workshop or coaching approach. When we show up as leaders to practice our craft, we offer ourselves the opportunity to improve and to create new habits.
I often refer to leadership as a practice. What you are practicing will define your leadership. What I have noticed over years of coaching leaders is the best of the best put their goals into practice. To the extent that they dedicate, plan and consistently practice something, the results come.
Resistance to practice often comes out as excuses. I hear the workshop attendee that sees no change in his results after the workshop. Why? Because they continue to practice the old habits and not the new habits. Keep in mind that practice does not discriminate. If you are practicing something that does not serve you, your leadership, your team, your business, then you will have results that follow those habits of practice.
So my question to you is this one: what and how are you practicing? How does this practice support your goals? How does it not? Every habit you have (helpful or not) got there because of practice, some of it conscious and some of it less conscious. If you are practicing worry, self criticism, living in fear, sleeping in, neglecting your health, then you will create habits around those practices. Want to get better at goal setting, writing, giving difficult feedback, taking risk, being a better friend, communicating your vision, offering reinforcing feedback, or keeping a leadership journal? Practice it! Practice with enthusiasm, belief, consistency and focus. Showing up for practice is step one. Results depend on how you practice too. Minimal effort will give minimal results. Top effort with enthusiasm, belief, feedback, correction and awareness offers a much better shot at improvement.
It is not just about talent. Talent is a helpful ingredient but ingredients are just the start. The best of the best achieve their success through dedication, goal setting, hard work, getting help and practice, practice, practice. The talent excuse often takes care of our anxiety to try something that’s new, uncomfortable or scary. “I’m not talented.” Remember, “hard work beats talent when talent just won’t work.” – Tim Notke
One of my great mentors shared with me “Practice, practice, practice until it becomes your practice”. I will add, once it becomes your practice, then keep practicing. Be conscious about what you are practicing today so you can create and intentional tomorrow.
Here are 5 tips for leadership practice
1. Set goals. What are you trying to improve, do more of or stop doing? Write them down
2. Make a plan. When will you practice? How will you feel when you practice? Put emotion and belief into it.
3. Review these goals daily and set daily goals to support your bigger goal. For example, “today I will give reinforcing feedback to each team member.”
4. Review your progress at the end of each day. Make notes about your practice. Did you do what you said you’d do? How many times? This process offers an opportunity for self reinforcing feedback to your brain. “Hey brain, good job. Let’s do more of this stuff tomorrow.”
5. Repeat! Consistency and repetition are key. Leadership is not one and done. We build capacity with each session of practice.
Thank you for reading and for sharing. I am sending you all great energy, support and wishes for all the success that you can handle as you continue on your leadership journey. Please share your thoughts and comments with others in the comment section below.
Your coach, fan and friend,
L4 Leadership LLC