A few times a year, every year, I brush off the patio furniture in the back yard, remove the cover from the propane gas barbecue and wipe it down. My friends begin to arrive; we break out the wine and beer, chips and salsa, deviled eggs and the pickle tray. I open the valve to the propane tank and then gingerly turn the knobs on the grill and standing back as far as I can, poke the button to ignite the flames. When I feel that sense of relief in the next few seconds that I am not on fire nor have I singed off my eyebrows, I do my best to adjust the flames and close the lids on the grill. Then I go inside and get the tray of practice meat.
This tray of practice meat is a great source of laughter for my friends. It is also a learning tool for me. I am determined to be as good cooking outdoors as I am indoors. I am not afraid of a challenge. With these two things in mind, I put the marinated and seasoned practice meat on the two levels of the grill and close it. My friends and I get to conversing, and I eventually I check on it. This is the point at which the local fire department goes on standby alert. With flames jumping around the tongs and my entire upper body engulfed in smoke, I negotiate the knobs while flipping what will soon be blackened hockey pucks, hot dogs that resemble long pieces of coal, and zebra striped chunks of shrunken chicken legs. My friends shout suggestions and nearly double over in hysterics as the smoke rises higher and higher through the trees. After a few minutes, my eyes burning from the smoky inferno, my hair standing on end, stiffened with a mesquite coating, I get the flames and temperature where I want them. I remove the practice meat, and using another utensil, I scrape the remains off the grill. Then I go inside, get the steaks, burgers, chicken and mahi mahi we will eat, and load them onto the grill.
With each barbeque I have gotten better. The smoke has been less as has the amount of practice meat needed. I am achieving my goal.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
However, it is the push to be as successful a barbeque mistress as I am at being a consultant/coach, that makes me persist. Being successful takes practice.
From sports to business, it is a fact that applying yourself and practicing are what give you the edge. In order to learn a skill you must do it again and again. An athlete doesn't expect to improve if she or he does not practice. A businessperson knows expertise is gained through the experience of practice.
So how do you make practice make perfect? Try this:
- Find your passion. Life is short. Learn what you love and find a way to do it.. Commit with your heart, soul and your very essence. This passion will be apparent to your clients, customers, and employees. It will be evident in whatever product you are offering.
- Intend to succeed. If failure is a possibly, then you will certainly fail and most likely it will be permanent. When you intend to success, when you put your intention it what you do that will not happen. Yes, you MAY fail but you will take that failure as feedback and try something else. Visualize what you want and make it manifest with every step you take.
- Stay focused. Entrepreneurs, athletes, and businesspeople in general will tell you that you need to choose one thing you do well and do just that. Focusing on too many things only brings stress. The best athletes rarely success at more than one sport at a time. When they are playing, they stay focused. Look at golfer Tiger Woods. His father, Earl Woods, did everything from jingle change in his pocket to shout things at him when he swung his club, to distract him. Tiger learned to master himself and stay focused no matter what was happening around him, and has become world famous for his golfing prowess. Imagine what you would do and what your life would be like if you put this exact focus into your business!
- Be persistent. This goes along with focus. You must be willing to keep your dream. You may not win the first time, you may burn the practice meat a lot, but you will also his the mark and turn out some masterpieces. Give something a set period of time before you will turn away from it. That could be 30 days, six months or a year, for example.
- Take risks. Let others laugh, let others complain, let other criticize...they will be doing it behind you as you move past them and onto success. Accept defeat, but realize it is temporary. Realize it also means you tried. Many do not. Every time you fall down, have a failure, suffer a setback, lose a deal etc. you have at least take a chance. The odds are sure that the more risks you take the better chance you have at reaching your goal.
- Build your Dream Team. Everyone needs their own personal board of directors or research and development team. My friend's provide valuable support and suggestions as I tackle that barbecue; others provide it when I have business ideas I wish to try. They believe in my dreams because they believe in me. Find those that support you and keep them close. Success is not achieved alone. Winning comes through sharing. Acknowledge and thank the members of your support team in life and business. Nurture those relationships, whether they are employees, business colleagues, family or friends.
- Have fun! Throughout it all, you must enjoy. Not only is winning fun, having fun while doing something makes it more likely that you will succeed. Laughter is vital. Fun involves confidence, enthusiasm, and determination. If you hate your business/job/life it is time to find something else. As I said at the beginning, life is short. Make the most of it and have fun while you are doing it!
A note: Let me say here that I do not necessarily recommend my method of barbequing if you are faint of heart. If you are in the London area you may want to leave it to experts such as Trevor Headly of Sunshine Catering.
Wishing you success!