One of the great secrets to making things look easy is to practice. I don’t agree that “practice makes perfect” though. If you practice doing something wrong, you simply train yourself to do it wrong. This is why every successful athlete, business leader and political leader has a coach. They might call the coach different things but behind the curtain is a coach.
A coach is someone who can stand back, and evaluate progress without the bias of pride or pain. If something hurts to much, we might stop because it doesn’t feel right. A coach might tell you to keep doing it because it is right, you just need to build the right muscles. Alternately, you might think something is great and take pride in it, and the coach will break through the pride to show you where it is wrong.
Ego is the biggest obstacle to success.
If you let your Ego get in the way and block what your coach says, you won’t learn or grow. If you let your Ego tell you that a coach is a waste of time, you’ll spend a lot of time doing things the hard way.
Depending on what you want to do in life, you may need a lot of different coaches. You can be the worlds greatest running back, and then get a speaking coach so you can get more TV time and endorsements.
As a public speaker, acting and speaking skills are critical to my growth. The truth is most people watch me to see the story unfold. It took along time for me to push me ego out of the way and figure this out. Looking back some of my early public speaking must have been pretty dull.
I have heard several actors say that Casting Director Workshops are a “waste of time”. Waste of time or not, they are part of the game. It is up to you to take the information and learn from it or grow with it or not. If you don’t get anything out of it, then you are right, it is a waste of time. Never waste time, it is the only thing you really have and you have no idea when it will run out.
This weekend, my wife and I spent nearly nine hours at Igloo Studios with ten other students, an engineer and Ned Lott. This was a little more than a “Casting Director Workshop”. Ned called it an “intensive”. He was right.
In nine hours, ten people were transformed. Some like me walked in with almost no skill in character speaking or voice. Honestly I thought I would never need it until recently. My ego clouded blocked my growth.
A couple of others came in with a skill level closer to the level I left with. They left even better. The day was simply eight hours of practice and techniques to get to another level. As an added bonus, an animated short was being recorded in the next studio. The director wanted a female to record some “scratch” and instead of waiting for another day or letting one of the men record it, they walked into our class and auditioned the women on the spot.
A woman who is under 30 and has a life history that makes mine look a bit dull nailed it. We all knew it and sure enough they picked her. Normally auditions are a very private and personal thing, this was in front of class. Our teacher, as well as the writer and the director for the new show and your competition all sitting right there.
Imagine having to audition in a public forum. Had we not all be doing the same thing for the previous five hours, the audition might have been a lot more nerve wracking. A cold reading audition, and not one of the women flinched. My wife had never done anything like it, yet she stepped up and took a shot.
Just a few hours of intense work and seven women made this on the fly audition look easy, one of them made it fun. She was the one they picked.
Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect. And as Rob Dyrdek recently said to me, “perfection is the enemy of greatness”. I don’t know where he got that but he is right. Intentional practice with a purpose and a coach will make it easy, and maybe even a little fun.
Isn’t that what you really want anyway?