Last week we started exploring HOW to be your own best advocate. I told you that in order to be a strong advocate for yourself, your business, and your ideas, you need to be prepared. Today I need to add an asterisk. Because when I say prepare, I don’t mean get organized, set up your pens, or even your ducks (in a row and all that). Instead, I want you to do the thing you want to do. The best preparation is practice.
Let me give you an example. I took piano lessons when I was a little girl. I didn’t mind the lessons, but I hated to practice. My parents wanted me to practice for 20 minutes a week because they knew that was the only way to get better. (I wasn’t very good, so the practice was as painful for them as it was for me). I’d moan and groan about practicing, then finally sit down on the piano bench for my 20 minutes of practice. I’d set the timer…..And then I’d go into the piano bench and lay out the music. I’d rearrange the songs in different order. I’d crack my knuckles with great aplomb.
Soon, my mother would yell downstairs “The time starts when you start practicing Heather!” With a sigh I’d reset the timer and get to work. My mother knew that all that preparation was just avoiding the hard part. Sometimes you have to sit down, or stand up, and do the thing in order to get better at that thing.
Setting up isn’t the best way to prepare. Neither is exploring, imagining possibilities or even asking questions. The best way to prepare to do the thing is to get working at doing the thing. This applies to writing–practice writing. It applies to public speaking–practice public speaking. It most definitely applies to advocacy–practicing standing up for yourself, your business, and your ideas makes you a stronger advocate. The more you practice, the better you get.
Women especially tend to think that we have to have everything perfect before we are ready to begin. We do ourselves a disservice by focusing on preparation over practice. Nothing will ever be perfect. You will never be perfect. But you can get even closer to perfect even faster if you just start practicing. The best preparation is practice. Get busy doing the thing, and then you can set the timer and the results will be on their way.