When I played football, I had a coach who preached practice to us. He presented practice as a bigger deal and more important than the game itself. The energy he displayed in our practices was off the charts. The ethic paid off come game time. Every victory we experienced was directly due to the effort given in practice.
The church I am a part of now is getting ready to launch Saturday night services. In the ramp up to that launch, we have started to have a Saturday night run through. Here’s the thing, these “practices” are being run as if they were a live service. Much like the full and final dress rehearsal for a broadway production. In order for this to be effective, it must be treated as if it is live.
The following picture is from a recent Saturday.
You’ll notice the empty chairs. This room seats 650-700. If you have never been on stage in front of an empty room, it is a little weird. In fact, it is difficult to present with energy. Yet, the band and the stage presenters gave it their all. You could feel the energy from the stage. If you just looked at the stage, you would never know that the room was empty.
Why? Because we believe that what we do as a church matters greatly. We believe that souls are in the balance every week. As such, it matters that we do what we do very well. So we practice. We refine. We work hard to make it the best it possibly can be. That means giving it our all even in front of an empty room.
There is an old preacher adage that says, “whether for one or a thousand, the message is the same.” While that sounds great, I have seen in practice that the smaller the group, generally, the less effort is given, or at least less energy. It’s easy to do.
There is another old saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”
Let me ask this: is what you are doing worth doing? Does it matter? If it doesn’t, start there and find something that does matter. Or maybe look at what you are doing and see that it does matter after all. Maybe it is an attitude in you that needs adjusted. Maybe it matters in a different way than you might have thought. (I’ll get into this more in the next post.)
If what you are doing matters, then it matters that you do it well. Prepare. I know you can’t necessarily take a couple hours every week to practice each aspect of your job. It isn’t feasible for everyone to have rehearsals. However, everyone can prepare and everyone can work to improve.
If you have a presentation as part of what you do, don’t just run through it quickly once. Get in there and hone it down. Make it extraordinary. You took the time to develop the content, make sure you take the time to develop the delivery.
If you are in sales, refine your ability to connect with people on an authentic level. If you are in the trades, learn new skills and/or techniques that will up your game. If you are teacher, get better at content delivery and using a variety of tools to help students learn. If you are a stay-at-home parent, develop an intentional plan to raise your children with purpose.
Whatever you do, you can get better at it. No matter your job or title, you can make an impact. There are areas you can prepare and grow. When you are preparing, put the same energy into it as if it were live. What you do matters, so the preparation of it matters.
Remember the greatest concert you have ever been to, the most awesome play, the best movie, the most exciting game: they all have one thing in common; countless hours of preparation.
Imagine the difference it would make in your job if you showed up each day ready to go, prepared, and full of energy and zest. I guarantee it will change things. I guarantee it will get you noticed. It might even get you promoted or open up new doors. It will change you.
The power of preparation is the power to change the outcome. No team wins because they were the most talented and least prepared. Usually the best prepared team is the winner. The best plays don’t necessarily have the best actors, sets, or even scripts. They are the ones that are the best rehearsed and best prepared. The ones who give it all they have.
There were guys on my football team who grumbled about practice. Yet, they very much enjoyed the celebration of winning. You can’t have the win without the practice. How much better will it be if we can appreciate, even enjoy the preparation. Those wins will be even that much sweeter!
So start today. No matter the size of the room. No matter how many are there. Give it all you have as you prepare. Make the preparation so good, that the live is off the charts.