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Practice, practice, practice

Posted by Kathleen Smith

For today’s Movie Quote Monday, I am dating myself and reaching way back into the time machine to “Karate Kid” – the first one. I have to admit that I never really liked this movie, but I’ve found its lessons keep popping up throughout my life. While some may think that the lessons are very “Tom Sawyer,” I tend to think they are more George Leonard’s “Mastery” – practice, practice, practice. 

We are constantly bombarded with new technology and new ways of doing things, so we spend more time bouncing from one skill to the next without truly mastering the art of a few things. We become Jacks and Jills of all trades rather than masters who have practiced and perfected their skills.

This came home to me again while doing my annual tomatopalooza. One of my passions is local food and cooking. After purchasing five bushels of tomatoes at the farmer’s market I set out to cook tomato sauce and roast tomatoes for my winter larder. The first time I did this was in a galley kitchen after reading the inspiring “Animal Vegetable Miracle.” The place looked like the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and I had no idea what I was doing. The next year I was in a new kitchen, big stove and counter space, and it still took me three weekends to put away 10 gallons of tomato sauce. Now three years later I can wash, cut, cook, roast and pack away everything in 48 hours. It wasn’t the new tools but the practice that made the job easier and better.

Not everyone wants to put away tomatoes for the winter, but we do want to be masters of our skills. Our challenge is finding what we are good at and then practicing it. We also need to realize that there are skills that we need to hone even if they are not our passions.  

For instance, searching for a job. Not always the most fun activity but it requires skill, focus and practice. We acquire new skills and work at them to help build our skill set and resume. We work the network which requires constant reaching out to new and familiar faces. We practice that always important “elevator speech” and maybe sometime a few different ones so that we have the right talking points for the right situation.

And this skill practicing doesn’t stop once we start a new job.

Identifying your skills and becoming a master at them not only serves you in your job search but also in life. 

This entry was posted on Monday, October 04, 2010 4:46 pm

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