I remember being told this throughout my childhood and continue to hear it today…

Practice Makes Perfect!

I appreciate the message and make that philosophy a priority, while encouraging my son, and those with whom I serve to do the same.  The slight difference is that perfection is never the objective, reaching our potential is; but I digress.  I remember countless hours kicking a soccer ball, throwing a baseball, pushing a football sled, memorizing facts for school, and the list goes on.  I remember practicing the things I both wanted to be good at and the things that others thought I should want to be good at.  Sometimes the two intersected, sometimes not.  Regardless, the fact is that the more we do something, the better we become (at that something), and it eventually becomes a learned habit or ability.

But, what happens when we practice…

  • Procrastinating?
  • Being a buzzkill?
  • Calling Meetings?
  • Doing only what we are told?
  • Not cleaning up after ourselves?
  • Playing the role of Devil’s Advocate?
  • Over eating?
  • Not exercising?
  • Complaining about what isn’t working?

Well, the answer is we get really good at those things.  We become known for those behaviors and in some cases become experts in those fields.  We are perceived very differently than we likely intended.  We practiced the things we should have practiced not doing.

Instead, we would benefit from practicing…

  • Being early
  • Encouraging others
  • Doing more and talking less
  • Creating opportunities to contribute well beyond our job description
  • Organizing our life
  • Playing the role of Advocate
  • Eating foods that enhance our health
  • Exercising regularly
  • Providing constructive feedback with potential solutions

Practicing is an extremely important part of our personal and organizational development, and practice may never make perfect but our practices certainly define us.  We ought to think long and hard about the person/team we want to become, the things at which we want to be good, and the behaviors we are re-enforcing amongst those we influence.  It’s not what we know that matters, it’s what we do.  It’s not what we preach that is of any consequence, it’s what we care enough to practice.

When we realize that Practice Makes Permanent, what we practice becomes even more important…

What are you practicing?