I have been thinking this past week about what it means to believe you can reach big goals, aspirations, and achievements. What I am not suggesting that our aim should be overnight success (most “overnight success” stories are about people working for years to be overnight success’ before finally hitting it big). What I am talking about is believing you can achieve something because you have seen others accomplish something and you commit yourself to the practice necessary to take the small steps, daily, towards that same goal.
To illustrate this, as many who read my blog know, my favorite hobby is photography. Recently, I had an opportunity to have a 1:1 mentoring session with a teacher, whose classes I have taken previously on my own journey and whom I admire greatly. As part of the preparation for the sessions, she asked me to identify three photographers whose work I follow and why. It was in this question that I stopped to think about this idea, that by seeing other professionals’ work (the composition, lighting, and picture clarity), and comparing my own, that I could map out a development path that would allow me to work on key areas that make their work so spectacular. My teacher and I spent time talking about some of the key gaps I had questions on, particularly picture clarity, and I learned a lot about how the workings of the camera, lighting conditions, and processing can greatly affect picture quality.
(And while some people may read this and say “no duh”, of course you want to figure out how to take a great picture, my aim is the confidence to produce sustainable great pictures. Sustainable is the key word here…..meaning over a long period of time having equal to or better product as a result of developing the skills and habits that enable those works.)
The key for me now is “the process” – the daily habit of practicing, and failing, and learning, and ultimately getting better. Focused practice, whether you believe in the 10,000 hour rule or not, is the key to mastering skills and achieving some of the big aspirations you have whether it be photography, negotiating big deals, leading an organization, or running a marathon. There is great hope in seeing what others have achieved and setting our eyes on developing to reach similar goals. But it is the daily commitment to practice, that allows us to realize them.
And while I would love to be a well-published photographer, I am content in the idea that I can build the skills and knowledge that will allow me to keeping growing and improving. I will enjoy the process and the journey it takes me on.
**side note: the picture of the waterfall in this week’s post was similar to one of the one’s I reviewed with my mentor. Could have lightened the exposure up a little. ; )
Here’s this week’s 5 for 5 articles:
How To Become The Smartest Person In The Room – by Gwen Moran – via Fast Company
SO WHAT: Whether you truly want to be the smartest person in the room or you simply aspire to live more fully these are great recommendations. The question is what we are prioritizing over any of these suggestions?
Deep Habits: Spend Six Months to Master Skills – by Cal Newport – via the Study Hacks Blog (H/T Todd Henry’s newsletter)
SO WHAT: Whether it is six months or 10,000 hours, commit to the practice and research necessary to go deep in a topic or interest.
How to Get Out of That Funk – via Michael Hyatt – via michaelhyatt.com
SO WHAT: Because not every day is sunshine and rainbows….great reminders on how to get through, out of, over a funk. Exercise is a great recommendation.
Blah, blah, blah – by Seth Godin – via @thisissethsblog
SO WHAT: An important idea that I try to remember in each presentation, how can I help make the audience smarter about this topic than before the meeting.
Tags: Leadership, Presentation
11 Fonts That Designers Love To Hate – by Dainius – via Bored Panda
SO WHAT: Who knew? I have to admit I use a few of these.
Tags: Lighter Side