Practice Makes Perfect

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Practice is typically something more associated with elite athletes, yet its applicability is in all walks of life. The beauty of the expression “practice makes perfect” is that it is relative. What do I mean by this? For the vast majority of things we do, perfect is whatever we define it to be; we have that choice. If that is getting a promotion at work or achieving a certain weight or perhaps establishing a relationship with somebody, you determine the end game; then there is an appropriate level of practice that goes with achieving this.

practiceThe interesting thing here is that for the examples cited above, “practice” is typically not the word most would use. That’s what it is though and people might more commonly say you have to “work at it”. Irrespective of the semantics, the more you practice the greater the knowledge, confidence, trust and personal responsibility that comes with it. All of these tend to be elusive at the beginning but become omnipresent at the end. These are the building blocks that we typically regard as “experience”. This comes from what you practice not what you perfect.

Here are a few tips to making your practice more effective.

  • Be very clear in what you are looking to achieve (want it and own it)
  • Seek help, if necessary, from trusted friends and advisors
  • Develop a plan that you can commit to and then follow through
  • Don’t do it unless you enjoy it
  • Appreciate the progress and stay in the present

When you apply these tips, the practice actually becomes more rewarding and enjoyable than the result (perfect); which really is the whole point. After all this thing we call perfect very often is a moving target and once you get to a new level, the bar gets moved again and therefore you are perpetually in practice mode.

5 Keys to Building Confidence

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According to world renowned sports psychologist, Dr Bob Rotella, golf is simply a game of competence and confidence. The competence piece we can all relate to and most would contend that this is something you can continuously build, but the confidence piece feels a lot more elusive. For many there is something very innate about this and you either have it or you don’t.

golfIf you were to align with some of the work of Carol Dweck relative to mindset, there might be some hope. She contends that people can have a predominance towards either a “fixed or a growth mindset”. The former essentially assumes that the skills and talents you have are fixed with little or no change over time. However the latter contends that whatever transpires can be a learning opportunity and people with this mindset see potential for growth rather than limitations.

This is a critically important distinction and has a tremendous bearing on how to build one’s confidence.   Being of a fixed mindset has a tendency for fueling a results orientation which creates a clear distinction between good and bad, success and failure. This can play havoc with confidence and is not ideal in the long run. However being process oriented, you tend to see the outcome either as confirmation of what you have been working on or an opportunity to learn something new; either ways it’s positive. With this in mind here are the 5 keys to building confidence in whatever you do:

  • Identify desired outcome – then plan / prepare accordingly
  • Trust the process – believe in your preparation
  • Stay totally present – forget about past events and future possible outcomes
  • Execute to the best of your ability – focus on what you want to have happen
  • Make necessary adjustments – learn as you go

Whether its golf, other sporting endeavors or some aspect of your personal / professional life, these are all applicable. Confidence is something that can be developed, but like most things in life it requires constant attention and practice.