The concept of Deliberate Practice was first defined for me by Stephen Cope in his book The Great Work of Your Life. To those of you who seek that level of peak performance, I highly recommend it.
"Deliberate Practice is not just a laborious repetition of the tasks of artistry. It is, rather, a kind of sustained engagement in the work that is aimed specifically at understanding and improving the work. It is an intentional breaking down of the tasks of any domain into smaller and smaller components to see precisely how they work. And it results in steady and incremental improvements in performance."
What is your practice? A baseball player's practice is precision when the player steps up to the plate to bat. The practice of the swing of the bat has morphed over the career of the player, the sustained engagement within those hundreds of thousands of hours in batting practice. What once was a hope and prayer that the bat will connect with the baseball, has now become a deliberate placement of the bat, in anticipation of where the ball will travel over the plate.
As a yoga practitioner, the postures have been executed time and time again. Each time, when you pay attention, something new is learned within the body and mind. The postures and transitions soon become a moving meditation, rather than being singular points of engagement in your practice. Your physical yoga practice becomes a very deliberate practice each time your step on the mat.
Whether it is in yoga, sports, academia, family or professional career, your deliberate practice becomes the vehicle for your intentions to move forward. What is learned in your practice transcends into, and requires application to your life, outside of the practice. This is where your fullest Self will be realized. Whether it is in your field of expertise, or an entirely new arena of your life, where can you apply the learnings of your practice? Where is the opportunity for your personal and professional growth?
Whether you see the opportunity or not, know it is there. Keep looking for it. If you cannot see it, it may be a time to move deeper into your Deliberate Practice. It may be time for an expansion of learning, for new opportunities to be realized - EXCITING!
Feel free to contact me with any thoughts!