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Improve Your Ability to Perform Taking a Not So Conventional Approach

I discovered this American Proverb in my readings today and it really stirred up my thinking. It gave me some real insight into what works best for maximizing performance.

The proverb is:

"Before sunlight can shine through the window, the blinds must be raised."

As I look for ways to learn and improve my abilities, I tend to focus on the things I need to learn to do better. "What training can I get to perfect a skill, acquire a skill I don't currently have or improve a skill area I consider a weakness."

The process is something like this:

  1. You go to class or some other learning event of sorts.
  2. You learn that new skill.
  3. You move on to the next thing.

Makes sense, right?

It's similar to building a clay pot on a turntable (remember the movie "Ghost"). You bring something to life that wasn't there before.

But suppose we look at this differently. Suppose I look at it as if I already had this same clay pot. The pot is very nicely and prominently set on a pedestal. Someone's put a ribbon on it to make it look even better. The problem now is that it is set behind the blinds. It's there in the dark and ready to go. However, there's no way for anyone to see it. It's never going to see the proverbial "light of day."

In light of this proverb, I started to explore those skills I have or innate qualities I possess and started thinking about ways to improve them from this new vantage point. Suppose I have traits I'm not using not because I don't have them, but because I have other traits or attributes that prevent that trait from coming into the light. They are in a way "hidden" and unavailable to me since there are other things shielding that trait from the outside world.

Let's look at my sales responsibilities. I'm pretty good at sales so I believe I possess the skills but I may not be putting those skills to use because there's something in the way. It could be fear, my insecurities, or lack of confidence.

If I look at my sales training or ways to improve my sales effectiveness, I could start looking for those blinds like the proverb says. An attempt to correct my lack of confidence or fears might take an emotional or spiritual approach. It could be about working with a coach or counsellor to get at the root of my fears and insecurities.

The raw selling skills would be there but the job is to allow them to get fully lit be removing what stands in the way.

These are two completely different approaches.

As you work to move ahead in growing your business, improving your awareness through mental exercises can be transforming. They aren't always obvious but once identified can be easy to tackle.

Let me know what you think. I can't be the only one grappling this. Do you tend to think you need more training in areas you feel you are weak or have you worked on removing the mental barriers that are holding you back from reaching your full potential?

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