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Draw it Again. The Key to Mastery

My son, Koby, is an incredible artist. I have included some of his work with this post. From an early age, Koby has always loved to draw. So much so that we kept paper and pencils in supply at all times, sometimes it was a little crazy, we would buy him an art book and he would fill it completely within a few weeks. Other times he would steal a ream of printer paper and draw on every single page.

Drawing of an eye
Eye Drawing by Koby Spelts

When he was young, I coached Koby when it came to art. I told him to draw as much as he wanted. I also told him that if he wanted to master something, he needed to draw it over and over. Mastery comes with repetition. To his credit, he took that advice. There were times when I would find a pile of papers and he would have drawn a human eye, over and over again. Sometimes he would have 20-30 pages each with a version of an eye. He would watch drawing tutorials, and then apply them. Once he finished an eye, he would draw it again, using what he learned in the previous drawing to make it slightly better. He did the same thing with noses, arms, legs, and hands. As a result of this practice and mastery, he is really good at drawing people.

This same principle applies to nearly anything you do. I have mentioned before that my first real job was selling Cutco. I started as a college student and then became a manager. I was there for 5 years. The most common thing I hear when people find out that I sold Cutco is, “I tried that, but it didn't work!” Thousands of people have “tried” to sell Cutco. Most don’t do well while others excel. In my personal experience, those who succeed are those who repeat themselves over and over until they master their sales demo. The repetition is what makes them great. Of course, it’s also just as important to work on your personal appearance, social skills, and attitude, but you must repeat things until you master them.

Doodles of eyes, noses, and other things
Doodles of eyes and other things by Koby Spelts

Setting patterns for myself has been one of the biggest keys to my personal success. Our business is very deadline-driven. It creates some natural patterns in our business. As we have grown we have had to adjust our schedules to make sure we meet our deadlines. Because this pattern repeats every month, we know exactly when things must be turned in, designed, proofed, and overall ready for publication. This has helped us to get things done on time because otherwise, our whole company could fail.

Not every business is as deadline-specific as we are, so this might be something that’s holding you back. Especially when you are thinking about how to market your business, completing projects, updating any part of your business, or starting something new. Often it is our time management skills that hold us back. My solution for this is to make deadlines for yourself and hold yourself accountable for completing them.

You’ll feel awkward and odd on the first video you make of yourself, but after the 100th you will feel completely normal. The only way to get to 100 is to put it in your schedule and make it happen consistently. DRAW IT AGAIN.

One of the tools I picked up from my Cutco days was what I called Time Blocking. In this approach, I break things down into three categories: Have to do, Need to do, and Want to do. Have-to-do’s are things that have a specific schedule. Things like meetings, doctor’s appointments, and school classes. These things are easy to plan for because they are pre-scheduled as soon as you know when they are happening.

The second category is Need-to-do’s, things that need to happen but don’t have a specific schedule. Getting your oil changed is a Need-to-do. It’s got to happen, but it's not on a specific timeline. Need-to-do’s are also things like working on your marketing, engaging on social media, recording a video, or anything else that you find yourself putting off when things are busy. If these things are a priority, schedule them around your Have-to-dos. Make the time, and don’t let anything get in the way.

To be successful, you have to learn to be a tough boss for yourself. Everybody loves the nice coach when they are in practice, messing around and slacking, but no one loves losing. Everybody hates the tough coach in practice when they are running lines, but they love that coach when they are winning. Become that tough coach for yourself. The best part about working for yourself is you get to pick your own schedule, but that is also the worst part about working for yourself if you are a nice coach.

One of my mentors used to say, “Be careful of pain-relieving, non-productive work.” This is when you do things that relieve the pain in the back of your mind telling you not to be lazy, like organizing your trunk, or your desk, organizing your leeds when you should be making calls, or some other non-productive work. These activities can still be done, but not when you should be making sales calls, shooting your next video, or writing your blog. Need-to-do’s are the key to great success. Get them in your schedule, and make them happen. I have two friends who are both very successful in their businesses. One is a Real Estate Agent, the other is an Insurance Agent. Both have built teams and receive lots of referrals. Both have been in their businesses for many years, yet both of them still schedule time in their daily schedule to make cold calls to potential clients, and callbacks to past clients. They are putting their Need-to-do’s in their schedule, and being intentional about making them happen. It is part of the reason they both make top-level incomes.

The third category is Want-to-do’s. These are the fun things, the necessary downtime, the activities you do that make you smile. It is important to plan time with your spouse, your kids, and your friends. Once you have your Have-to-do’s and Need-to-do’s in your schedule, put a round of golf, a nail appointment, or a massage in there too. These things will help you recharge and refresh your mind and motivation.

I have seen people color code these things and plan them in their schedule, but most importantly, make a plan and stick to it. Be a tough boss or coach for yourself to create a champion. If you are doing something thinking, “I am just not good at this”, repeat it more often. DRAW IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. Put it in your schedule, and do it until you master it.

In conclusion, whether it's honing artistic skills like my son Koby or excelling in your career, the path to mastery is paved with repetition and dedication. Just as Koby drew countless eyes to perfect his art, successful professionals repeat and refine their skills until they become experts. Setting patterns and deadlines, prioritizing tasks, and being a tough boss for yourself are all essential steps on the journey to success.

Remember, the first step is often the most challenging, but consistency is the key. Over time, what once felt awkward or unfamiliar becomes second nature. So, whether you're striving to improve your artistry, excel in sales, or manage your time better, keep this mantra in mind: DRAW IT AGAIN. And again. Try it, and let me know how it goes.

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