Expectations of perfection

Trying something for the first time almost certainly won't go the way you expect. You're trying some assertiveness technique and the words sound weird when you say them. You're giving meditation a go and frankly it's irritating. The hardest part of learning and applying a new skill is getting over our initial expectations of comfort, ease and success.

You already know how to handle this

There was a time in your life you learned how to do things you now take for granted. Whether it's how to use a fork, chopsticks, smart phones, car washes or using your voice as your password when you phone the bank. Things we take for granted now are all hard won skills. We've just forgotten the spills and breakages that went into gaining those skills.

Do or not do, there is no try - Yoda

It's helpful to think of practice as a work in progress, rather than a road to perfection. Focus on the doing - preferably a little and often. Allow for bumps and accidents, trial and error. That's all part of the learning and embedding process your brain uses to keep what works and build new habits.

Build your practice skills:

  • Remind yourself, regularly, why you are doing this. Find a strong, positive motivation that will encourage you to keep at it. Get a picture of it and stick it somewhere you will see it a lot.
  • Reward yourself for showing up, not just for delivering results. This stuff takes effort and rewarding your effort is a great way of building strong habits (and staying motivated)
  • Tweak the variables - usually that means making things simpler, shorter, easier. Break skills down into smaller steps. Give yourself more time, less to do then once things feel easier, introduce more complexity.
  • Recognise your progress. Check in with yourself and see how you are doing, compared to how you were when you started. Scaling questions are a great way to track your gains over time.

Practice gets a make-over

I was looking for a better way of describing practice and I got two re-interpretations within the space of a week. One from a colleague and one from a participant on a course - thank you both for letting me use them!

The insights they shared were that 'practice makes progress' and 'practice makes possible'. Perfection can wait - that's much more like it!

So I've stuck them together, added my take on practice and this is now a guiding principle for Learn Develop Change:

Practise makes progress...
Practice makes possible...
Practice makes power.

Here's to the progress you make, the possible you realise and the power that is yours to enjoy.

Practice in action

At Learn Develop Change we support your practice with:

Pre and post training checkpoints. Fill in your pre-course survey and post-course evaluation to stay focussed on your learning goals and the progress you are making.

An optional check-in, two weeks after your training. It's a great way to spot what's working as well as pinpoint anything getting in the way of your progress.

Free PowerUp practice sessions that run over the year after your course. Come to one, come to all of them! When you join a PowerUp workshop you can be confident that anyone else taking part has already been on the same course as you. You will be with like-minded people and all share something in common.

One to Ones with your trainer. Totally personalised practice and support sessions, just for you. If your course included a One to One credit it will have already been added to your learning space. All you have to do is pick a date in the online diary to get started.

Learning space - your dedicated area at learndevelopchange.com/space where you will find your course notes and resources, learning locker plus the online diary for PowerUps and One to Ones.