Do you or your leaders revisit the basics of your professional skills?

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

Pro Athletes revisit the basics at the beginning of every season. They practiced the basics until they were second nature again. That's the foundation they started every season. That's how the Coach's built and maintained winning teams.

How do we learn and stay current on our skills? Especially Leadership skills, but skills necessary for any profession? During and after any formal education.

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a seminar and workshops that lasts days or weeks and say their life has not changed. When you asked them what they changed in their day-to-day life that they learned in the seminar they usually say nothing! If we think about it we know nothing worthwhile happens without study and work.

You are a product of your choices, not your circumstances!

We are successful as humans because we thrive in community with others and we learn from each other. Learning from others, knowledge followed by personal trial and error seems to work best in my experience to form skills.

When we learn to walk, we use trial and error repeatedly until we build up enough muscle strength to try to walk and we fall, get bruised up a few times. With the encouragement of those around us that love us we keep trying with the full concentration of our whole brain. When we master walking then our body automates it with body memory. The same thing with learning to ride a bike and drive a car. We are not comfortable riding the bike or driving at first so we use our complete brain to focus on learning the process, hopefully with only a few accidents but we keep trying until we master the task, and then our body automates it so we can do it with ease. Once we automate a task our body memory and emotions take over and that’s when things can go wrong.

Have you ever driven somewhere and don't remember any of the scenery or stores you passed? You were in your head. You were on autopilot!

Our autopilot (body memory and emotions) main job is to protect us from danger and automate the majority of our day, so we don’t fry our brain. It creates memories we should be aware of when we see facial expressions, body language, hear words, smells and images from the past. It uses those memories so it can react if it perceives danger ahead. It pulls from every part of your day including TV and the internet. Have you ever heard a song and it triggered vivid memories immediately?

Significant stress puts us into' fight or flight ' and can seriously disrupt our autopilot. Under significant stress your primitive brain is in complete charge, your frontal cortex is not used because it is too slow to make decisions and takes a lot of concentration while our primitive brain is very quick to make choices and uses little energy in comparison.

Professional Football players start every season reinforcing and practicing the very basics of football. Football players and their coaches know they have all summer to rest but the brain is processing so much data every day from every possible source. So, the coaches check the players basic programing (body memory) to make sure it is still correct at the beginning of every season. Once the coaches are confident that they basics are solid they build from there.

Unfortunately, most of us do not revisit the basics of our skills periodically to make sure no bad habits have infiltrated our programming (body memory). Unfortunately, we wait till after we have an accident, lose a relationship, lose an account, lose an employee, or lose a job.

Then we start questioning what could have gone wrong.

Remember, unless you engage your frontal cortex, make a concerted effort to revisit your basic program (body memory) you’re in autopilot mode, so your frontal cortex is not fact checking any of this, your auto pilot program is in charge.

Imagine what the last several months have done to our autopilot, body memory. Stress levels get elevated, our frontal cortex does not work under extreme stress and our body memory and emotions send our training and programing off the track by reacting from all kinds of memories. Have you ever seen someone get upset and say something that made no sense? That's body memory and your primitive (flight or flight) brain.