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Your game is only as good as your practice.” — Ken Blanchard

 

We’ve all heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.

That rings true in most aspects of our lives, including our business. Whether you are a leader or individual contributor, improvement demands extra time and effort. Experts become experts because they choose to put in the time to become better.

Most things in life don’t happen by accident, but rather by hard work and perseverance. It’s not enough to want to be better or simply be talented. Knowing what you want and why you want it will help you to better define an action plan on the important aspects of your business. One must actively participate in his or her evolution of improvement. So with this in mind, and knowing what you want to excel in, ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Are you continually improving your skills or are you content with your performance?
  • How much time each week do you spend looking for ways to improve your craft?
  • Do you attend at least one seminar or workshop per quarter to further your education in your field?
  • Do you seek the opinions of your colleagues and peers on possible ways to improve?

Your answers to these questions are especially telling of your commitment to practice and improvement. Most experts agree that writing down what it is you want to improve is a powerful step toward success. Therefore, to stay on track, identify your goals and what you need to practice or do to get there, and write them down. Break the goal into tasks that you put on your daily to-do list. Get in the habit of looking at this list first thing each morning and reporting on your accomplishments each night.

Whether you are hitting a golf ball, playing a guitar or presenting your company’s value proposition to a new client, the amount of time you’ve spent practicing will impact your level of success. Success is not achieved by coincidence or by accident. Only with time and dedication will you go from good to great to exceptional. Ask yourself every day: “What am I practicing today?