Are you really making mistakes, or are you on the journey to mastery? The difference in your results could be as simple as whether you experience practice as work or as play.
Before I learned how playful practice can help your business, I’d become frustrated when I tried something new and it wasn’t perfect right away. I’d compare myself to another person’s best, not recognizing or appreciating that they had invested thousands of hours of practice and at least as many dollars to become masterful in their pursuit.
Mistakes or Mastery?
In his book Outliers – The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell writes that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Whether you suffer through your ten thousand hours or play your way through is a choice.
We’ve all heard the mantra “practice makes perfect”, but practicing can get a bad reputation. It starts early. In my email newsletter, I shared a story about how I felt about practicing piano compared to my experience of practicing baseball as a child. Two different environments and activities produced opposite reactions in me as a child.
Practice without play is just hard work
I don’t know about you, but I prefer easy work, or fun work, over hard work. If you’re not able to enjoy the journey because you are solely focused on perfection, you may be setting yourself for the 3 Fs: frustration, fear and failure.
In several recent coaching sessions, I’ve asked my client to lighten up and give themselves permission to make mistakes rather than retreat back into their comfort zone. You need to give yourself permission to try something new and mess it up! Mistakes are a part of growing and learning. It’s not realistic to expect mastery from yourself right away.
How to get moving towards mastery:
- Identify one thing you could do on a regular basis that is new to you and would help grow your business.
- Use the magical power of the internet to research 3-4 examples of people in your field doing what you need to do. This should take you no more than a couple of hours. Anything more is procrastinating.
- Now that you have met your new role models, emulate them. (Note: Emulating is not the same as copying. Use your ideas, your material, your way of seeing the world. Don’t copy their content. Emulate HOW they are doing it.)
- Take ACTION.
- Go back to step 4 and repeat over and over.
You might ask yourself, “Wait a minute, I’m doing the thing – I thought I was supposed to be practicing! You are practicing – while you’re in your game. Eventually you will find your own approach, voice, and style. The important thing is you are taking action, not thinking about taking action.
Unless you are an accountant or surgeon, your success in business relies on your capacity to move forward, not on your ability to be perfect. Your playful, imperfect practice is better than anyone else’s inertia.