Yesterday morning I played tennis. I have played tennis on Tuesday mornings now for over 20 years! Tuesday is my weekly drill, so there is a pro and 5 other women on the court. The drill is all about getting better. And getting better happens for a few reasons: showing up consistently week after week, hitting a lot of balls, listening to and adopt the pro’s advice and instruction, and eliminating mistakes by making changes. Sounds simple, right? Do the math though, 20+ years of weekly instruction—I should be on the pro tour by now! LOL, but alas, I am not.
Here’s the truth: we are creatures of habit and we love our patterns of behavior. So, have I improved over the many years of playing tennis week after week? Yes, but not as much as I could have or should have improved because I continued to repeat my bad habits. As I watched all of us playing yesterday, I watched us make mistakes that we shouldn’t have been making. Muscle memory. Old habits. Patterns of behavior. Rinse and repeat.
Do you want to be a better leader, parent, friend, or person? Our old behavior won’t get us there. Even 20 years of instruction won’t necessarily get us there. This is going to require that we make some changes. The human body and mind does not like change—it loves old habits and patterns. Today I am challenging all of us to pick one thing we want to be better at and spend just 5 minutes thinking about what change needs to happen for this improvement to occur. Write your change down on paper. Now implement this change EVERY DAY. When you feel like it’s a part of your patterns and habits, add another. Trust me and my 20+ years of tennis when I say, wanting to be better will never make it so.