Practice Makes Par-fect

source url follow Credit: ESPNI’m not a golfer, and there’s good reason for this: When I go out to play 18 holes with friends, I need to take a bucket of balls along in hopes I’ll have one or two left by the end of the game. My golf is so bad I actually hire a professional to play for me. As a result, my game is fantastic and I no longer drink myself into a deep depression on the 19th hole. There are many benefits for those who enjoy the game of golf: A lot of business is done on the golf course. Golf demands a continuous improvement of personal skill. It allows one to compete with him or herself and it provides objective feedback about personal progress.

enter There are at least four important traits the best golfers share: A desire to get better, self-discipline, a method of tracking progress, and an investment of quality time to achieve worthwhile goals.

source A well-known, objective gauge of a golfer’s progress is to achieve or surpass par. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines the term “par” as “the number of strokes a first-class player should normally require for a particular hole or course.” Interestingly, you can apply this term to what you do in your work as well as in golf. If you expect to be a first-class player in your organization, you must achieve par. But how does one set par in the first place? Some readers may immediately think of business measurements called KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are specific, objective and measurable goals against which organizations judge their performance. But to measure an individual’s performance, I strongly prefer to use another acronym, “PAR,” or Personal Accountability Report.

source In this case, one states a personal goal, a deadline, and then assigns a number of “strokes” – or PAR – he or she hopes to match in order to achieve that goal. That person then shares all of this information with another, supportive player or mentor. The goals are Personal, the individual is held Accountable, and must Report both successes and failures to a trusted partner. Today, I’m asking you to set a few PARs for your own self-improvement. You might set a goal to read one work-related book each week. Another PAR might be to limit the frequency of your Facebook visits each day. You could even set a PAR for the number of social events you should attend each month. You’ll need to share these goals – and your progress toward them – with a partner or partners who will hold you accountable.

Take a moment to define three PARs right now. Choose activities that will help you become a first-class player. Make them powerful. Report your progress regularly to someone you trust.

Like the best golfers, you need measurable goals, self-discipline, commitment and a personal desire to get better. So get out on your self-improvement golf course and start practicing. With each stroke you take, you’ll get closer to the goals you’ve defined as PAR-fection.


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