Growing up, I was a competitive figure skater. From the age of five to 17, I was a “rink rat”. My mornings, after-school, sometimes weekends, and entire summers were dedicated to one thing...practice, practice, practice. The competitions accounted for less than 1% of my total time on the ice and everything was simply practice. When I was sick and tired of practicing I would complain to my parents, usually my mother as she took the brunt of my whiny rants. Instead of saying, “okay, then let’s throw in the towel” or “do you want to quit” or lecture me on how much they spent each month on private coaching sessions and rink time, she would simply say, “practices makes perfect”. Back then, as much as that saying made my skin crawl, she was right. And now, I find myself saying the same thing to my son and I’m sure it annoys the hell out of him, the same way it did me.
So what does practicing have to do with turning your vision into a reality? Simply put… EVERYTHING! From work to a new business venture to fitness or a hobby, the more you visualize success, dedicate time and energy, you will see better results, you will get more out of it, and you will become more successful!
Perfect practices, makes perfect!
Now wait…some of you may be saying, isn’t the saying actually “practice makes perfect”? Well… yes it is. However, what I (and several researchers) have found over the years is that practice alone is not enough, rather it’s PERFECT practice that truly makes perfect. By tweaking the method in which you practice (again applying this to work, home, fitness, hobbies, etc…), adding elements such as quality, consistency, analysis or evaluation, and repetition, you are able to master your craft and thus, turn your vision into a reality.
Long before I read any studies, I was putting the researchers’ theories to the test, day in and day out while on the ice. The same goes for my profession. Having worked for the same company for 18 years, holding various roles during my tenure, I applied the elements noted above to become the resident expert or “go to girl” in my respective area. The key is deliberative practice. Not just doing it again and again, but challenging yourself with a task that is beyond your current ability. Trying it, analyzing your performance before, during, and after, and correcting any mistakes along the way. Then…. repeat, repeat, repeat.
Being the best of the best….it takes practice!
Let’s dig into this a bit further. Olympic and sprinting phenomenon Usain Bolt is talented; in fact, I would say he has a God given talent that only few are born with. However, talent alone would not have allowed him to be the only man to have won eight gold medals in three separate events, at three consecutive Olympics. Nope. His journey is less than lack luster, struggling in the beginning and going through various coaches. He eventually found the right coach and the “magic” sauce which consists of a rigorous training schedule. From targeted weight training programs that concentrate on core-centric exercises to condition his weak core muscles, to exercises that help enhance his strength and explosiveness, to an exhausting four phase speed training program involving drills. It is perfect practice day in and day out for Usain Bolt. However, it doesn’t stop there, to be the best, you must also eat like the best. Usain’s diet is structured and packed full of all the ingredients needed to support his rigorous training, while providing nutrients for optimal muscle recovery. For those of you wondering about his food of choice? Yams!
Clearly, Usain’s perfect practice did indeed make perfect. His track-record (no pun intended) doesn’t lie!
Turning your vision into reality
Time for another quick story. While training, I found myself on some occasions arguing with my coaches about what they were having me do. They would be having me do these (what I considered “stupid”) DRILLS. Thirty minutes practicing a “take-off”… thirty minutes entering a spin…. Or my favorite, thirty minutes of “stroking”, which is simply skating around the rink in endless circles. In my mind, all of this was absurd. What could this possibly teach me? Come to find out, it taught me muscle memory and most importantly correct technique. It provided me with a foundation that if for some reason my mind failed me during a competition, my body would naturally take over. The repetitive drills reinforced the correct technique, that allowed me to be the best I could be at that moment.
With skating, my vision was to be the best. Jump the highest, complete full rotations, land on the correct edge, artistically interpret the music, and come in first place! My vision for business is not that much different. I want to be the best, but more importantly “my best”. I want our business to make a positive impact on the lives of women and the community. I want to provide an outlet where women can create, transform, and explore, boosting their confidence and self-esteem. As with skating, to achieve my vision, I must practice, practice, practice. I must develop a strategy, execute, evaluate, tweak, and repeat…. Until that muscle memory is established and I have perfected every angle, only then will I see my vision turn into a reality where my goals are realized.
What are you practicing for?
I want to know what each of you are practicing for? Do you have a business goal or new venture, are you training for a marathon, changing your diet to incorporate more fruits and vegetables, are you writing a book? Whatever you’re practicing for, I want to know how your “perfect practice” is going and if you’re turning your vision into a reality? Leave me a comment below!