“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
For the first time in 10 years, I took a golf lesson. Now I should have taken it sooner, but I finally put my ego on a shelf and took one!
The golf pro went out to a hole on the golf course. Before I got up there, he put a bunch of balls on the ground, and said, “Show me your pre-shot routine.” That question took me aback and I thought about it for a second and said, “Well, I’m not sure I have one. When I drive the ball, I do it this way. When I hit an iron, I do it this way. When I chip, I do it this way. When I putt, I do it this way.”
I saw his face change and he said, “Unacceptable. If you want to be predictable in your golf game, you need to prepare for each shot the same way.”
That was a wake-up call for me. And I thought about how that pre-shot routine can be used in your career or professional development. Shame on me, I was taught and teach that the more prepared person always wins. For me, preparation can be a challenge. I am hard-wired as an optional person—I like to deadline things. I don’t even get inspired many times until deadlines are imminent.
Take speaking, for example. Every time I gave a talk, I would get emotional. Why? Because I was moved by what I was saying as it was the first time I was hearing it. Many people take the time to prepare for a talk, but I was just shooting from the hip. There were side effects to this—like getting disappointed if I forgot a few things, or wishing I had added something in. I didn’t have a pre-shot routine for speaking.
Think about it. How do you prepare for a sale? How do you prepare for a meeting? How do you prepare for a talk? What’s your pre-shot routine?
So what goes into creating your own pre-shot routine?
Let’s take preparing for a presentation or speaking opportunity as an example.
Step 1 – remember your values, vision, and mission.
Always refer back to those key pieces. Values are your ground rules. Vision is where your life or business going. Mission is how and why you serve. Make sure you have these in place.
Step 2 – make an outline.
By writing things down you make that placeholder for the ideas you want to address in your presentation.
Step 3 – let it marinate.
My editor always tells me to allow what you write to marinate. When you’re cooking something, you put it in a bag and let it sit—you walk away and let it marinate.
Step 4 – rehearse it.
Take the opportunity to practice. Say it out loud. Make note of things you might want to adjust and how your pre-shot routine might help you identify these in the future.
Step 5 – adjust as needed.
Make tweaks that you feel bring you closer to your vision of the presentation.
So there you have it, a pre-shot routine.