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Nobody is spontaneously great. The most significant difference between those who succeed and those who don’t? Practice.

I don’t mean 10,000 hours of training. I’m talking about people who know something is coming — an event, audition, a tough conversation — and work backward to ensure that they’re ready.

Next week, I’m speaking in Auckland. There’s an eighteen-hour time difference between Raleigh and New Zealand. I’ll be hella tired and jetlagged. My cognitive processing speeds will take a hit, and there’s a 100% chance that I’ll be hangry.

How can I channel my inner Tom Brady and reproduce game-time conditions? Good question.

I’ve been getting up early all week, forgoing coffee, and practicing my speech. I’m in my jammies and a robe at 5 o’clock in the morning talking to my cats. It’s hilarious and weird. Then I go back to bed, sleep for a few hours, and spend the rest of the day being super cranky.

It’s paying off. I’ve noticed a few habits that emerge when I’m tired. I’m working on being mindful while also letting my performance flow. All I can do is practice, make adjustments, and show up in a foreign country and offer my best ideas to a complete group of strangers.

Bottom line? I want to make an impact, not excuses. You can’t help people change their lives — or perform their jobs better — if you’re caught up in some narcissistic debate on whether or not you’re good enough or talented enough to be on stage.

If you’re on stage, you qualify. The debate is over. Now make the most of the opportunity by practicing.

One Response to How to Be Great at Anything: Practice
  1. Robert Smith

    Hey Laurie, been awhile, for both my own blogging and reading other blogs. I’m currently reading The Geology of Genius by Eric Weiner. One theme is how geniuses get to be so good, they fail faster and learn from it. Failure is practice.