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Anything Worth Doing Well

Last night I was talking to some clients about this concept – that, “Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first.” It seems like such a simple concept, but consider how often we just don’t try things because we believe we backgammonare bad at them. The first time I played backgammon I lost over and over and over again. So you know what I did? I quit. It was frustrating. I just didn’t want to feel that way.

The first time I coached a client in my coach training program in the front of the entire room, I was terrified. I also was not very competent. Then we coached each other and videotaped ourselves. Then we offered each other feedback on how to improve. There was a lot of that for me – feedback on how to improve. I’m not going to lie to you. It was painful. And it was worth it.
How many things have you not tried because you are afraid you won’t be good at it? How many things have you tried and quit because you weren’t good at it? Or because you did not improve quickly enough? One of my favorite artists is Macklemore. He has an amazing song called “10,000 hours” which references a concept written about by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers: The Story of Success. The concept is that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything.

10,000. Hours.

If you worked 8 hours a day 5 days a week, that would be five years – solidly practicing this skill all day every workday without any kind of vacation.

Macklemore spoke about famous artists whom he had studied. About Basquiat, Escher and Keith Haring, he said, “The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great because they paint a lot.”

A lot.

Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”einstein

So go. Try it. And if you suck and if it’s important to you, do it again. And again. You have to decide if it is worth it to you to become masterful.

Backgammon wasn’t worth it to me. Coaching was. I still take classes, read books, ask for feedback and add to my skill set. There are a lot of things I am learning to do in my practice which I do poorly. But it is so important to me to be the best possible coach for people to have what they want that I continue to practice. To fall down. To get up. To go again. 10,000 hours is a long time.

Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first.

About the Author

Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching attorneys and management since early 2008. She wrote a book, published by the American Bar Association, "Coaching for Attorneys: Improving Productivity and Achieving Balance." She coaches attorneys and managers one-on-one, and provides in-house training designed to improve productivity and bring accountability to the organization.

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