Walk Before Run
It’s softball season in our household, and both my girls pitch on their teams. They don’t play softball in one of those year-round clubs. This is just a seasonal little league team.
Therefore, they haven’t really practiced or played any softball in 9 months.
I’ve been trying to get them to do some pitching drills to sharpen their skills, but they have convinced themselves they don’t need them.
Which is silly, but a clear view of how all our minds work sometimes. We want to run before we can walk well.
In Navy Seal training, learning a new skill starts with a lecture followed by slow hands-on practice with a watchful instructor making sure every step is done with precision. This is their crawling stage. Slowly they add more speed, mastering each step during the walking stage until finally they are allowed to run.
I remember practicing the same wrestling move over and over again in high school, which wasn’t very fun. I craved learning new moves until I figured out if I could be the best at 3 specific moves I could win.
There are times when we should run when we’ve barely learned to walk. Sometimes opportunities come your way, and that is when we need to sprint, so they slip through our fingers.
But the opposite is also true; knowing when you should slow down to master the walk.
An example of this is lifting heavyweights in a gym. I may be strong enough to lift that barbell full of weights over my head, but if I don’t have each step of the lift mastered, I will injure myself. So I will not attempt to this until I invest the time to master the details.
In business, we often injure our success because we skipped the walk before we began to run.
It’s showing up to an appointment unprepared. It’s not taking the time to research because we assumed we had enough information. It’s hiring too quickly. It’s starting a new expensive venture without taking the time upfront to investigate and test out the idea. All of these are examples of running before walking.
I often struggle to pump my own breaks when I get excited about new projects and ventures. But it’s necessary to practice discipline and patience to avoid making fundamental mistakes, just like my girls with their pitching technique.
We must wax on, wax off, and paint the fence.
(This is a Karate Kid movie reference, for those of you who haven’t seen it, go watch it, it’s the perfect analogy of the principle of learning to walk first).
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