Practice Makes Pain – Developing Skills for Success

Acquiring the Skills of Preparation to Mitigate Liability.

Life, Liberty, Liability? The land of liability is a dangerous realm in which to live. We all exist there to some extent, some more and some less; however, risk and chance are widely used concepts in our everyday lives.  

Is it safer to ride my bike to work or take a cab? If it’s safer for me to ride in a taxi, is it safer for the environment? Is it safer for other drivers on the road for me to ride my bike through and around traffic? Naturally, these threats and scenarios flash through your mind at lightning speed, creating your verdict.  

The next step is to plan for the execution of your decision, and again you usually spend that time preparing but are still clouded and distracted by your choice. This thought process derails your ability to organize and process your next steps. Was it the right decision? Did I consider all of the factors?

Moving on to execution, we start the task. Hopefully, you’ve made peace with your inner objection demons and executed your assignment with attention and precision. If you find yourself still clouded at this point, however, you will not be able to perform correctly, the task will take longer than expected, or you’ll lose efficiency and synergy.

Your Penalty Box.

Seldomly time and efficiency are only some of the significant risks. Consider a mistake. What power does an error carry? In ice hockey, your mistakes cost you time in a transparent box to watch your team restrategize without you skating on the ice. Your penalty box from a mistake, missing a deadline, or illness may also leave your group or family without a plan. 

Less efficient people take longer to complete tasks; it isn’t a secret or taboo; it’s a common fact. Yet no one typically notices your delay, mistake, or accident until it is too late, especially if it’s “just the way you are” or don’t ask for help.

These inefficiencies and mistakes keep your task from being as successful as possible, penalizing you from maximizing potential. Remember, success is a relative word, just like dangerous or tasty, so clearly define the goals and objectives to align with your team and stakeholders.

Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario.

Sometimes these blunders and inefficiencies are out of our control, and unfortunately, there is no referee to call interference and give you a re-do. Other tasks and projects become seemingly impossible; you cannot succeed no matter how hard you try or what you do.

If you are in control, learn everything about the factors, objections, and risks. If done correctly, your time spent getting ready will give you an exceptional return on your efforts in completing your task/project. This level of control makes other tasks more accessible, relieving the stress of chaos from a spiraling to-do list.

Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect. 

Practice makes perfect is a pretty terrible cliché. Even “Practice Makes Better” is a rabbit hole of unclear and unaligned goals. This cliche of perfection only promotes your objective opinion of what “perfect” and “better” are instead of a broader worldview. 

Define Perfect. Define Better. Knowing the RPR (realistic possible return) and the acceptable damage will allow your squad to define these terms with you rather than unclear personal definitions. Intentional and direct language reduces communication errors and gets everyone on the same page.

Practicing and improving the process is often done at this stage, as there is no operator risk if there is a mistake or failure. Usually, the process will be modified for improvements before execution, as you will be able to see the task and how it will work without risk.   

Practice Makes Pain. 

One Cliché that I can get behind is the notion that if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not working. Maybe not always physical hurt, but understanding that if your practice is not creating any potential problems, risks, objections, or pain, are you practicing the right way? Are You running at full or half-speed, and are you genuinely readying yourself for the next steps?

Analyzing your training and preparation is crucial for your team’s success, which you all want and, in our opinion, deserve. Nevertheless, often we say we don’t need a practice swing; we’ve got it. What a terrible position to admit that we are willing to accept the mediocrity of success, all because we didn’t feel that practice was necessary. We should have considered finding the pain points, inefficiencies, and risks that would help the task’s success.  

It isn’t very comfortable to admit when you say it like that, but it’s true. Here you are, in your penalty box, with everyone looking at you and wishing you were back in the game. Then people ask the question – well, did you practice? Did you make a mistake because you weren’t ready to handle the pain because you didn’t prepare?

That moment may be more important than even the error made. Your response reveals your sincere dedication and respect for that task. If yes, you’ve tried and prepared but ran into one of those inevitable circumstances you didn’t plan for or expect. If not, you live with that mistake, as you and everyone else know you didn’t care to prepare.  

Being ill-prepared is how you truly lose. Not that you can’t hopefully correct it and spring back better than ever. Sometimes, however, those second chances don’t come, and you’ve lost the opportunity.

What investments can you make to improve your efficiency and mitigate your risks of failure? What can you practice to learn and get comfortable with the pain? 

Doing great things means making a great effort. Join us in the Collaboratory to discuss in our community, join an EvolveU Keynote, or book a one-on-one session to hone your skills and improve your efforts for extraordinary success.

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