On Deliberate Practice. Pointers from a Boston Marathoner

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I started this blog to connect with brilliant thinkers and doers like yourself with the intention of making new friends from all around the world so we can inspire each other to move in the direction of our dreams.
I recently discovered Johnathon Jones, creator of Building United.  Johnathon is creating a community of readers and followers who have a vested interest in living a life full on consistent personal and professional growth.  One of my favorite pieces of inspiration here.

Performance and Endurance

Johnathon is a runner. For most runners, a marathon is not just 26.2 miles of physical endurance – it means months and months of arduous, painstaking preparation.

Typically, those signing up commit to long periods of meticulous planning, a careful diet and a regimented program of progressively longer runs.

Here Johnathon gives his advice on creating a habit of deliberate practice for maximum results and success.

What is Deliberate Practice

Practice makes perfect.  Practice like you play (or perform).  Practice what you preach (do).
The list goes on, and I could spend the next several minutes reciting quotes about practice that we have all heard at some point in time.  Practicing a skill, task, or act is vital to our long term success in achieving what the said skill or task prepares us to do.

However, there is a significant difference between the act of practicing in order to ‘get in your repetitions’ and deliberate practice in order to become better.  There is a difference between going through the motions and passing time and spending time honing and refining a skill in attempt to perfect it.

Quality of Practice
After all, if you’re going to devote time out of your day towards bettering yourself at a particular undertaking, then it is in your best interest to focus your energies on being as productive as possible in that short amount of time.

Maximizing Results
The question I get asked, though, is “How can I be most effective in the little amount of time that I have?”  In other words, how can I be deliberate in my efforts to maximize my results?
In my own experiences, I have found that utilizing a three step approach has been crucial to my development.  For example, I began running on a consistent basis nearly 6 years ago.  The goal was always to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  In order to arrive at this goal, I had to be deliberate in my methods.

How did I get there?  I implemented these three steps.
time-calendarStep One – Dedicating a Time Slot
You must dedicate regular time slot intervals to deliberately practice.  It needs to be built into your calendar, as do your work appointments, children’s activities, and family events.  If it’s on the calendar, then you are committed to it.  For me, I set an alarm nearly everyday for 4:30am or 5:00am to wake up and commit myself to training programs for various marathons.  This is when my body functions best for this type of training.  For you, it doesn’t need to be 5:00am, but it does need to be at a time when you feel best about working on that skill.

to-do-listStep Two – Eliminating Other ‘To-Do’s
Let’s face it, we are all challenged with varying obligations each morning when we wake up – meeting a project deadline, meeting with a client, taking the kids to school – these activities can overwhelm our mental capacity.  In your deliberate practice, it’s not only important, but necessary, to eliminate any fleeting thoughts of these other tasks.  This will help you to better identify how you feel, what worked, what didn’t work, and what to improve upon next time.  Moreover, this is the difference between ‘being present’ and ‘being in the moment’.

repetition-copy

Step Three – Refine and Repeat
Even those who were born with natural tendencies and talents still had to work hard, and continue to work hard at their specific skill set in order to be the best they could possibly be.  Michael Jordan never quit practicing throughout his entire NBA career, and is highly regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.  Steve Jobs never stopped refining his products and technological advances because it was necessary to grow Apple into the company that it is today.  This is the step where you utilize and build upon what works well, and trash what wasn’t useful.

Achieving Your Goals
It took nearly five years for me to finally achieve a Boston Marathon qualifying time.  It didn’t happen overnight, but that’s not important.  What is important is the deliberate intention I had of achieving a goal.

This same principle is applicable in your own life.  Consider how you can you apply it in your office,  your marriage, friendships, etc.

Passion, Enthusiasm and Dedicated Work
Not only does being deliberate display a commitment to become better, but it also exemplifies and defines passion, enthusiasm and work ethic.  I have never known someone whom had these three characteristics that didn’t achieve a goal.
How about you?  When was the last time you were truly deliberate was about what is was you were engaging in?  Did you feel the passion burning inside, the enthusiasm from without and the reward of working hard?

Moving forward, as you engage in practice, make it deliberate – intentional if you will.  Implement the three step approach and see where it leads.  Chances are, it will lead you directly where you want to go.

About Me Johnathon Jones

From a personal standpoint, running has been my true passion for nearly 6 years, but since moving to Denver, CO, I am spending quite a bit of time outdoors – hiking, road biking, climbing, etc.  I’m a firm believer that those who achieve the most in life are the ones who take advantage of the opportunities that surround them.  That being said, I love to travel (especially on the whim), cooking is a daily thing I love, and meeting people in order to build relationships.

Connect with Johnathon on LinkedIn

Join the Building United Community. Visit his blog

Learn more about refining your deliberate practice.

talent

Read:  Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

The Author

Inspiring everyone to become the very best they can be while leading more passionate, purposeful lives filled with gratitude and greatness. Studying and curating the very best experts and masters of mind, body and soul for improving performance, achieving greatness and living a thoughtful and intentional life. Obsessed with how technology can improve our fitness, meditation and mindful practices while reducing stress and creating calm amidst the chaos of modern existence.

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