What comes to mind when you read the word "practice?" Perhaps you think of taking your child to soccer, baseball, or football practice? Maybe you think of practicing the piano, (or some other musical instrument)? Perhaps practice in the context of spirituality - having a "spiritual practice." The concept of practice is extremely important. It's easy to see the value of it in the realm of sports. Even the greatest athletes practice continuously. It's not like they get to the top and then they rest. All sports stars in all sports disciplines work to refine, improve and maintain their skills. It's hard to imagine Roger Federer, LeBron James, or Ben Roethlisberger talking about how great it is that they don't have to practice anymore and all they do is play games and tournaments. And it's the same with great musicians.
But what about the rest of us? What if we aren't sports stars or musicians? Do we practice? And if so - what do we practice? We would like to suggest that not only do all of us practice, but that we are continuously practicing all the time. We all have patterns of thought, emotion and behavior that we are repeating daily, hourly and moment by moment. Constant repetition is practice. Think about it. Don't you have a daily routine? A pattern of the way you start your day? Maybe you get up, take a shower, turn on the TV for news and brew some coffee. If you do that every day, it's a practice. What about your team meetings? Do you always prepare in the same way? Maybe you check emails, create notes, grab some coffee, turn off your cell phone and get to the meeting 5 minutes early? If you do it the same way each time you are practicing. A practice is really any pattern or routine of thoughts and behavior that we repeat and reinforce.
This is true on the emotional level as well. Perhaps you have noticed when you talk to your mom on the phone there is a way in which the same dynamics seem to happen over and over. You may even get off the phone and tell a spouse or friend, "there she goes again! I said 'X' and she said 'Y' just like always. You know how it is." Again, this is a practice. A routine that has developed on a subtle level between the two of you.
In order to really lead your life and business from a place of choice, it's important to build some self-awareness around what you are practicing in the realms of thought and emotion. What habits do you have that are unconscious? In what ways are they limiting? In what ways are they beneficial?
If you find that you are repeating patterns that aren't creating the results you want, what will you do next? It's important to build positive practices for positive change in the areas that you want to experience improvement.
This is a complex subject and requires self-observation skills. If you need help building some awareness contact us. We have a Leadership Profile tool to help you gain new clarity and insight into your personal patterns. We also have Power Hour coaching sessions that can help you gain perspective.