How to CRUSH Your Career: Deliberate Practice

To recap: in a previous post, I explained the U (Unwavering) in the CRUSH Method. It all boils down to having a laser focus on your goal, and gaining the necessary skills or expertise to slay that goal. You’ve got to become proficient AF.


One way of doing this is by engaging in deliberate practice- meaning, you don’t just practice. You practice- and then analyze what you did well, or what you fucked up- and then you practice some more until you dominate in your field. But how can you apply this in work settings and your career?


So, think about a job where the same or similar tasks are done every day. For example, customer service representatives or insurance agents. Researchers Sonnetag and Kleine (2000) found that the more cases an insurance agent dealt with, the higher his or her performance. In other words- practice. Then, if they engaged with deliberate practice, ie.) a supervisor listens in on a call, and then provides them with corrective feedback on how they handled that call- their performance increased even more.


There’s an interesting research study (Macnamara, Hambrick & Oswald, 2014) that essentially says that deliberate works extremely well in stable fields, where the performance is relatively known. For example, in chess, tennis, basketball, and classical music, the rules don’t really change, so you can basically study hard and practice- and become the best. The same concept applies to the work setting example above: if there are say- rules of engagement, or step-by-step processes in place- then you can definitely practice those steps, and with corrective actions, you will increase your performance over time


But what about unstable fields, where rules aren’t really known? Where there isn’t necessarily a formula or known steps for peak performance?


Let’s look at entrepreneurship. You don’t become a great entrepreneur by practicing the same tasks over and over again. In fact- based upon my personal experience of running my own successful company for over seven years- you have to constantly adapt to new tasks and new initiatives.


Most of what entrepreneurs do is fluid, completely undefined and entirely complex.


But, we actually can apply the theory of deliberate practice to entrepreneurship. It just looks a little different. It is more self-regulated, as you probably don’t have a coach or supervisor. Likewise, it’s pretty informal. Entrepreneurs ain’t got time for formal training or classes. But, you can still adopt a peak performance mindset, and constantly identify areas of your own improvement.


And while you might not have formal practice, you certainly can view each event throughout your day as practice, of sorts. That call you had with a pissed off client? That was practice for the next call you’re going to take. Ask yourself: what did you do well on that call? What did you fuck up? What should you do differently next time?


That pitch presentation you gave? Same questions as above. How can you do better next time?


It’s all practice. It’s all learning. It’s all about gaining expertise and skills, and constantly becoming better and better at what you do.


And that’s what it’s all about, right? That’s how you excel. That’s how you CRUSH. You can never be complacent, because then you’re not learning and growing. You have to constantly be evolving and becoming a better version of yourself.

And keep in mind that practice is but one component of the CRUSH Method. While you certainly have to maintain an Unwavering commitment to your goals, and have a laser focus on gaining the needed skills or expertise for that goal, it alone will not guarantee your success. You need to apply the CRUSH Method in its entirety. So keep reading, y’all. There’s more tips to share.


Sources:

Keith, N., Unger, J. M., Rauch, A., & Frese, M. (2016). Informal Learning and Entrepreneurial Success: A Longitudinal Study of Deliberate Practice among Small Business Owners. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 65(3), 515–540. https://doi-org.jeffcolibrary.idm.oclc.org/10.1111/apps.12054


Macnamara, B. N., Hambrick, D. Z., & Oswald, F. L. (2014). Deliberate Practice and Performance in Music, Games, Sports, Education, and Professions: A Meta-Analysis. Psychological Science (0956-7976), 25(8), 1608–1618. https://doi-org.jeffcolibrary.idm.oclc.org/10.1177/0956797614535810


Sonnentag, S. (2000). Deliberate practice at work: A study with insurance agents. Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 73(1), 87–102. https://doi-org.jeffcolibrary.idm.oclc.org/10.1348/096317900166895


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