The U in the CRUSH Methodology stands for Unwavering.
In order to excel at something- at anything- you must have an unwavering commitment to that goal. You need a laser focus, and you need to cultivate the skills and knowledge that are necessary for achieving that goal.
In short, you have to level up. You have to gain expert proficiency- whether mental or physical- in your field or craft.
So how do you do this?
Now, practice is actually a funny thing. It’s not nearly as simple as it sounds. In fact, super smart academics and scientists have spent years and years analyzing practice, and understanding what makes practice effective….or ineffective.
Turns out, there’s quite the distinction. First, you have to understand the deeper meaning behind practice. Is it simply to gain a skill? Or is it to excel in a skill?
Think: first you must acquire the skill. This is done via experience, ie.) hours accumulated. For example, to start out learning tennis, you will first focus on the basic strokes: backhand, forehand and serve. You will repeat this over and over until your arms are sore and your back hurts and eventually- it will become muscle memory and you will have gained those skills.
This concept exploded across the world with Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling book, Outliers. He argued that true masters- whether in chess, music composition, sports, etc- all have gathered at least 10,000 hours of practice. His theory was supported in the sciences and academia, but it’s also been hotly contested. For: basic skill acquisition- or experience or hours accumulated- alone does not an expert make. Rather, it is merely Step 1.
So then- if you want to truly excel- if you want to actually CRUSH at tennis- you must move onto what researchers term “deliberate practice.” The difference here is that you have moved beyond the basic skill acquisition- our hours spent practicing- and now you have to really focus on improving your performance.
In order to do this, you must stretch your performance. You must find your edge- your limit- and then barrel over it.
How do you do this?
You must actively and consciously address any weakness in your skill. You must study your performance. Analyze your performance. Note any deficiencies. Address those deficiencies.
Make tweaks. Execute again. Study yourself again. Rinse and repeat.
Why do athletes watch videos of themselves after the game or match? They’re studying their performance. They’re looking for any weakness or error. They’re coming up with a plan on how to then level up.
Same goes with performers. Think about musicians, dancers, actors and public-speakers. You betcha that they study their performance after the fact- look for missteps or screw-ups- and then tweak accordingly.
Why are coaches, trainers and mentors so important? Aside from encouraging and cheerleading, they also provide direct corrective feedback on your performance- which enables you to know what changes you should make in order to crush it the next time.
CRUSH Your Career
Now what about the rest of us who aren’t trying to become professional athletes, musicians or performers? Maybe we just want to crush it with our careers? How can we apply deliberate practice? Check out my next post for how you can apply the U in the CRUSH Method and deliberate practice to your career.