Remember when you were a child and you were learning something new? I can vividly recall hours of practicing 'double-dutch' skipping with my girlhood friends, the uber-athletic Karen and the angelically curly-headed Lois. After class, we smacked those jump-ropes against the schoolyard pavement until the custodian chased us away.
Skinned knees, ankle socks tangled in the skipping lines, torn dresses, grouchy janitors...this was just the price we paid to become the double-dutch masters of Mrs. Wosczinski's Grade 3 class.
It might sound like it was some brand of fierce kiddie determination or competitive spirit that drove us, but it was actually something else.
See, as kids, we were willing to let ourselves start over. We knew, intrinsically, that in order to learn, we needed do-overs - those beautiful opportunities to try and try again, and then repeat the whole process. In fact we begged one another for the chance to fall face first in the school ground, arms and legs akimbo, undies at full flag. Screaming "My turn! My turn!" we raced headlong into enthusiastic failure.
There's a lesson here (surprise).
Permission to begin again, to start from scratch, to practice is an act of grace. It is a form of compassion, built into us as children and then somehow programmed out of us as we become adults.
As grown-ups, we expect home runs our first time at bat. Entrepreneurs, in particular because we are so good at starting things, are apt to give up quickly if we don't have instant success.
When we experience a less than stellar turn at the plate, mindfully focusing on what worked and what didn't, and then allowing ourselves a do-over or a fresh beginning is a way of treating ourselves gently.
As we introduce compassion into our repertoire, we expand our potential and can take more ground as we grow into our businesses and our personal lives.
Find your piece of practice pavement in the world. Give yourself permission to visit and revisit it often.
They say 'practice makes perfect'. I say, practice is perfect.
What are you practicing now? Can you give yourself a do-over?