This month is all about deliberate practice and we are right in the thick of it.
One of my favorite definitions of deliberate practice comes from Angela Duckworth's book Grit and she defines it as working towards a goal, soliciting feedback, reflecting on that feedback and then refining your practice to accommodate what you have learned.
It seems so simple; you almost want to shrug your shoulders and blow it off like it's something everyone knows. And you're halfway right - it is something everyone knows, but it certainly isn't something everyone does. And that's the trick. You see, it's hours and hours of deliberate practice over a long arc of time that make the difference. No one hops into the Olympic swimming pool after a couple of weeks or walks out on stage at the Grammys after a few rounds of karaoke.
Sure, we all have our natural affinities for things. I have a knack body awareness and rhythm but I am not at all flexible and get stage fright. I have to increase my flexibility on purpose, paying attention to how my muscles feel before and after a workout. As far as the stage fright goes, yep; that means constantly talking to people and getting up in front of an audience (like a yoga class!) and continuing to see what comments land and what I'm saying that completely misses the mark.
But the deliberate practice is where the magic happens. Fighting through the sweat and the boredom and the challenges to conquer life one micrometer at a time. And doing all those things because you know that's where growth happens.
Practice makes perfect - but deliberate practice makes growth.