Put in the preparation to do your best

Bobby Knight, the legendary college basketball coach, has a quote that I have always liked, “everyone has the will to win, not everyone has the will to prepare to win”. This is a quote that you can apply to any endeavor in your life, be it an athletic competition, a job interview, mastering a musical instrument, a speaking engagement, a test, a job. Unless you are really really gifted, you can’t show up on game day, or for the interview, or the performance, or the speech, or the test, or the job and expect to do your best unless you have put in the work ahead of time. It is in the moments of practice that the real learning takes place, and the skills are polished, the small mistakes are eliminated, but most people aren’t willing to put up with the tedium of practice, or the difficulty encountered when you attempt to master a skill that you haven’t done before or the pain of effort that is sometimes required to get better. We assume when we watch someone who is very skilled at something that it comes naturally, well perhaps it does, and I won’t deny the talent, but what a lot of people don’t know is how much time is spent just practicing and practicing.

I remember once when I was a marshal at the Fred Meyer Golf Tournament in Portland (it is fun, but not as glamorous as it sounds) that after the golf was over for the day, to a person, all the pros went straight to the driving range, and continued to hit shot after shot after shot, and at that time these were some of the best golfers on the planet. Chris Botti, the Grammy winning trumpet player who incidentally hails from Corvallis, said he practices EVERY day, and from 6 to 8 hours a day. This is a guy who has been playing since he was 9!

So, when you showed up for work today, no matter what you do here can you say you have put in the preparation to do your best? I hope your answer is yes.

Have a great day everyone.


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