There’s a myth about highly talented people—that they are
simply born that way.
Here is what I know: you reach your potential when you are
willing to practice. And not just practice often, but practice effectively.
That’s because you play to the level at which you practice.
Consistently good practice leads to consistently good play. Successful leaders
understand this, and they apply it.
If I were to sum up what lifts successful leaders above the
crowd, I’d do it in four words: a little
bit more. Successful leaders pay their dues by doing all that is expected
of them—plus a little bit more.
Can you guess where the “little bit more” happens?
I find two essential truths about the power of practice:
Practice Enables Development
Practice is where old skills are refined and new skills are
acquired. Practice is where the tension between where we are and where we ought
to be propels us forward. In order to be successful we must first buy-in to the
reality that practice enables development.
Practice Demands Discipline
I believe that talent is not a matter of conditions; it is a
matter of choice. Once the choice is made and practice becomes a habit, two
things become obvious: 1) a separation between the person who practices and the
one who doesn’t, and 2) a winning spirit emerges. The harder you work, the
harder it becomes to surrender.
To sharpen your talent through practice, you not only need
to be open to change, you need to pursue change.
- Don’t change just enough to get away from your
problems—change enough to solve them.
- Don’t change your circumstances to improve your
life—change yourself to improve your circumstances.
- Don’t do the same old things expecting to get
different results—get different results by doing something new.
- Don’t see change as something hurtful that must
be done—see it as something helpful that should be done.
- Don’t avoid paying the immediate price of
change—if you do, you will pay the ultimate price of never improving.
Successful leaders practice! They practice harder, longer
and more effectively than unsuccessful leaders do.
To sharpen your talent you must first improve your practice. Here are 5 questions that will help you:
- What specifically are you trying to improve?
- What does your best look like?
- What changes can you make to give yourself more freedom to fail while improving your talent?
- What are you willing to sacrifice to reach this next level?
- What is the “little bit more” you will start doing today?
Take 15 minutes to answer these questions, and put the power of practice to work for you today!
John Maxwell Leadership Podcast