A few months ago, I bought a guitar and started the process of learning to play. A few days ago, I wrote a post about what my motivation to purchase a guitar can teach leaders of all kinds.
Today, I have another lesson drawn from my recent guitar playing endeavor for people of all ages and roles.
First, the story behind the lesson.
As my daughters and a friend of mine patiently teach me scales, chords, chord progressions, hand positions, and strumming patterns; I have learned to struggle through a song or two. I don’t model the ease and beauty of playing that you might see in a true guitar master like Eric Clapton or Jim Croce (yes, I am showing my age), I can manage to, generally, make sounds that resemble music.
I know how to make my left hand create a number of chords. I know them by name, and I know a few simple variations. I have even learned what it means to hammer on and pull off. It’s great fun even though the finger tips of my left hand alternate between painful and numb.
In the process, I have learned that…
The concepts of playing a guitar are relatively simple, but playing a guitar well is not easy.
I quickly learned some fundamentals, and, using those fundamentals, I can fumble through a few songs. I am a looong way from true proficiency with the guitar. Still, I believe that with effort, practice, study, and the willingness to fail in the process; I can achieve some level of mastery.
The same is true for anyone working to apply the communication and conflict resolution principles that I write about and teach. It takes effort, practice, study, and the willingness to fail in the process to master them.
Becoming a great leader, communicator, conflict resolver, parent, or anything else, depends on the work done in the process of becoming proficient. It does not happen without study and focused practice.
The difference between doing something you have heard or seen someone else do and doing it with mastery is in the time and effort invested after you learn the concept.