Practicing isn’t just for musicians. Or ballerinas. Or Olympic athletes.
We all need to practice in order to improve. In order to learn. In order to ingrain strong habits within ourselves.
Practice enables us to do things. Even simple things like cooking. Or gardening. Or blogging. Practice also enables us to do things well.
The act of regular practice helps us to get better at innovating within our companies. Practicing innovation skills such as questioning, observing, networking, experimenting and associating, can enable us to effect change within our organizations.
Practice doesn’t have to be complicated or even time-consuming. Any of us can do it. The key to accomplishing anything is to establish a practice routine. Your routine may be weekly, semi-weekly, daily or whatever. The important thing is to carve out time on your calendar to engage in regular practice of the activities or skills that are important to you.
I think we all need to practice practicing. Or, as Aristotle so adeptly put it, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
When was the last time you listened, really listened? Some people go through their days and never listen at all. They talk. When someone is talking to them, rather than really listening, they’re only preparing to respond.
They forget the #1 rule of listening. To listen is to be silent.
Interesting that the two words are anagrams of one another. We can’t do the first without the second.
Talking is easy. Listening is difficult. Yet, it is only by listening that we really learn — learn what our clients’ needs are — learn to be a better friend, better spouse, better parent, better human being. And, by listening, we learn to truly appreciate the world around us.
As a musician, I’ve learned that listening makes me better at my musical craft. When I listen, really listen to my fellow musicians, on or off the stage, that’s when I really learn, really improve.
And, by truly listening, I am able to understand more about my favorite composer, J.S. Bach. Each and every time I listen to a work by Bach, I learn something new.
Do you feel your writing getting stale? Or that writing isn’t as fun as it used to be?
If so, here are 5 Simple Ways to Breathe New Life Into Your Writing:
Get out of your usual workspace. New ideas often sprout from new environments. Deliberately mix it up by hanging out at a different coffee shop, outdoor park or ‘drop in’ co-working space. Even in these uncertain times, most of us have a multitude of spots from which to choose.
Write at a different time of day than you normally do. Yeah, schedules and routines are wonderful, but for creative new ideas to happen, we often need to disrupt our normal circadian rhythm.
‘Write’ using a different digital device. Just the feel of a different ‘touch’ under our fingers can allow for content to flow in a lively new way.
Write first; edit later. Rather than immediately editing yourself as you write, just let the words flow. Don’t be concerned with misspellings or grammar issues — just write. Creation and editing should be two separate activities.
Write with abandon. Write more than you need. Just let the words and ideas flow. It’s a wonderful feeling when you find yourself with enough content to fill multiple blog posts, instead of your intended single post.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am practicing these tips as I write this and, I have to say, it feels a bit radical…simple, even.