Archive for March, 2016

Stop Thinking and Start Doing: The Power of Practicing More

Posted on: March 25th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

This a really powerful article about the value of practice in skill building. Look at the ratio of practice to competition for athletes or the ration of practice to performing for any type of performing artist. Do business professionals practice to perform at similar ratios? What would change if they did?


Reprinted from Medium. Written by @james_clear

Stop Thinking and Start Doing: The Power of Practicing More

We all have goals that we want to achieve in our lives. These goals may include learning a new language, eating healthier and losing weight, becoming a better parent, saving more money, and so on.

It can be easy to assume that the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future is caused by a lack of knowledge. This is why we buy courses on how to start a business or how to lose weight fast or how to learn a new language in three months. We assume that if we knew about a better strategy, then we would get better results. We believe that a new result requires new knowledge.

What I’m starting to realize, however, is that new knowledge does not necessarily drive new results. In fact, learning something new can actually be a waste of time if your goal is to make progress and not simply gain additional knowledge.

It all comes down to the difference between learning and practicing.

The Difference Between Learning and Practicing
In Thomas Sterner’s book, The Practicing Mind (audiobook), he explains the key difference between practicing and learning.

“When we practice something, we are involved in the deliberate repetition of a process with the intention of reaching a specific goal. The words deliberate and intention are key here because they define the difference between actively practicing something and passively learning it.”  — Thomas Sterner, The Practicing Mind

Learning something new and practicing something new may seem very similar, but these two methods can have profoundly different results. Here are some additional ways to think about the difference.

  • Let’s say your goal is to get stronger and more fit. You can research the best instructions on bench press technique, but the only way to build strength is to practice lifting weights.
  • Let’s say your goal is to grow your startup. You can learn about the best way to make a sales pitch, but the only way to actually land customers is to practice making sales calls.
  • Let’s say your goal is to write a book. You can talk to a best-selling author about writing, but the only way become a better writer is to practice publishing consistently.

Passive learning creates knowledge. Active practice creates skill.

Let’s consider three more reasons to prioritize active practice over passive learning.

  1. Learning Can Be a Crutch That Supports InactionIn many cases, learning is actually a way to avoid taking action on the goals and interests that we say are important to us. For example, let’s say you want to learn a foreign language. Reading a book on how to learn a foreign language quickly allows you to feel like you are making progress (“Hey, I’m figuring out the best way to do this!”). Of course, you’re not actually practicing the action that would deliver your desired outcome (speaking the foreign language).

    In situations like this one, we often claim that we are preparing or researching the best method, but these rationalizations allow us to feel like we are moving forward when we are merely spinning our wheels. We make the mistake of being in motion rather than taking action. Learning is valuable until it becomes a form of procrastination.

  2. Practice Is Learning, But Learning Is Not PracticePassive learning is not a form of practice because although you gain new knowledge, you are not discovering how to apply that knowledge. Active practice, meanwhile, is one of the greatest forms of learning because the mistakes you make while practicing reveal important insights.

    Even more important, practice is the only way to make a meaningful contribution with your knowledge. You can watch an online course about how to build a business or read an article about a terrible disaster in a developing nation, but that knowledge is unproductive unless you actually launch your business or donate to those in need. Learning by itself can be valuable for you, but if you want to be valuable to others, then you have to express your knowledge in some way.

  3. Practice Focuses Your Energy on the Process“Progress is a natural result of staying focused on the process of doing anything.”  — Thomas Sterner, The Practicing Mind

    The state of your life right now is a result of the habits and beliefs that you have been practicing each day. When you realize this and begin to direct your focus toward practicing better habits day-in and day-out, continual progress will be the logical outcome. It is not the things we learn nor the dreams we envision that determines our results, but rather that habits that we practice each day. Fall in love with boredom and focus your energy on the process, not the product.

The Bottom Line
Is passive learning useless? Of course not. In many cases, learning for the sake of learning can be a beautiful thing. Not to mention that soaking up new information can help you make more informed decisions when you do decide to take action.

That said, the main point of this article is that learning by itself does not lead to progress. We often hide behind information and use learning as an excuse to delay the more difficult and more important choice of actually doing something. Spend less time passively learning and more time actively practicing. Stop thinking and start doing.

Questions to date for – Judging Nightmares…Make your judging reliable and informative!

Posted on: March 17th, 2016 | by Bill Kenney

Here’s a quick highlight of participant questions that have already been posed so far for the March 24, 2016 webinar – Judging Nightmares…Make your judging reliable and informative!. For more details or to register click here.

The question we posed:
What questions or challenges do you have related to managing/administering effective judging?

  • How to maintain consistency in judging across many different projects and with different judges?
  • How do you maintain simplicity in criteria?
  • Is there a way to make it statistically accurate?
  • How do you developing an effective rating system and score sheet – especially given conflicting priorities among my judges?
  • It is our first time in implementing the program we will use judging for so just general questions about managing and administering effective judging would be great!
  • How do we get judges to stay within the allotted time frame?
  • Getting judges on the same page and focused on our criteria rather their their own.
  • How do you ensure that judges stick to your criteria and not their internal biases?
  • Are there any software or other tools that can be used to make the judging process easier for the judges and add transparency to the process for both the judges and the participants?
  • I am interested in learning about your best practices
  • Interested in modern perspectives and insights to enhance my judging participation
  • Not enough time or thought put into the criterion by the judges as a group. Typically facilitator gives a sheet to fill out and then judges begin to argue about what each one meant in relation to their pre-conceived notions.
  • How do you deal with judges who may not understand a particular industry but will write off an idea because they don’t understand rather than asking more questions?
  • How do you make sure judges are prepared and have read background information?
  • We have a program where we work with early stage technologists, but our Judges are used to seeing later-staged startups seeking funding, so their expectations about what makes a good team do not always line up with what our program is designed to do.

Standout in 30-Seconds for Professionals

Posted on: March 14th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

Standout in 30-Seconds

Connect at every opportunity

Make your networking self-introduction ROCK!


  • Do you get anxious or nervous?
  • Do you forget what you wanted to say?
  • Do you wish you had a clear and powerful message?
  • Is your value proposition simple and effective?
  • Do you wish your introduction would attract the right people?

Join our Standout in 30-Seconds program and deliver your compelling self-introduction with confidence every time.

Our system will help you develop an effective script and then practice and perfect your delivery.

What’s included:

  • Two (2) x 1-hour workshops – delivered live online and recorded
    • Introduction to Standing Out (Monday, April 11 at 4pm ET)
      • getting started
      • creating a script
      • delivery techniques
    • Advanced Standing Out (Monday, April 25 at 4pm ET)
      • assessing the audience
      • developing a hook
      • closing with confidence
  • Three (3) rounds of formalized practice rounds with feedback from our expert coaches on the Test My Pitch platform.


Register by Friday, April 1 and SAVE $30

More Information

Price = $149 if you register by April 1, 2016


Subject to the standard Test My Pitch Term of Use.

Test My Pitch is a product of Test My Pitch, LLC

What Are the Most Important Job Skills?

Posted on: March 4th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

According to a report just published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, verbal communication is the most important job skill.

When asked to assess candidate skills/qualities, employers rated verbal communication skills the most important, according to NACE’s Job Outlook 2016 report.

Employers rated verbal communication skills (4.63 on a five-point scale) highest this year, above teamwork (4.62) and the ability to make decisions and solve problems (4.49), the two skills that tied for the top spot last year.

The remainder of the list has not changed at all in terms of order compared to last year. The one difference this year is that more of the skills/qualities were rated just below 4.0 (“very important”) than last year. Just two skills/qualities were rated below 4.0 last year—ability to create and/or edit written reports and the ability to sell or influence others.

While those two remain at the bottom of this year’s list, they are joined by technical knowledge related to the job and proficiency with computer software programs with ratings under 4.0.

The Job Outlook 2016 survey was conducted from August 5, 2015, through September 13, 2015, among NACE employer members. A total of 201 NACE employer members participated in the survey—a 20.1 percent response rate. NACE members can access the Job Outlook 2016 report through MyNACE.

Results of the annual Job Outlook survey—especially employer insight into the skills they seek in new college graduate job candidates—served as one of the foundation pieces upon which NACE constructed its Career Readiness Competencies.

View the rest of the report including how employers rate the importance of candidate skills/qualities.