In today’s topic I got a recent reminder of why practice and mastery are so important. And I’m going to use a friend of mine’s work to demonstrate to you exactly what I learned. One of my favorite things about my team is we really are a team, a community, a culture, a family, if you will. And my multimedia specialist is amazing.
You guys go look at videos like this on my YouTube channel. Look at my social media. You’ll see the evidence of her work. She has a partner named Nick and we have resumed traveling as the world becomes a bit more mobile through this pandemic crisis. And I got to spend some time around her boyfriend, who is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met.
He’s very intelligent. He’s very talented. His evidence of his intelligence as he has a PhD in music and evidence of his talent is he is a very high level saxophonist. So we had a long drive, you know, on the long drive on this trip, we’re in California, a long drive is like 11 miles through LA, which takes like 90 minutes.
And we ended up having a conversation about his art. We end up having a conversation about mastering his craft and it was so amazing to get to sit and talk with him and get to know him. Because for, for a couple of years now, I’ve been working with Helen and in the background, you can often hear this man practicing his saxophone as we meet on zoom over the past couple of years, you can hear scales. You can hear exercises. You can hear what’s clearly practice, not like song playing, but evidence of actual practice. And now I’m getting to meet him and asking him how he masters this art. And he said something that to a non-musician I experienced is shocking.
He said, one of the things he does, he practices his breathing, where he has to breathe in and out at the same time. Now, when you hear that, it sounds like an impossibility. Like those are two counter acting activities. And it’s also something that you don’t naturally know how to do. He’s had to practice this art to master the craft of saxophone playing over the course of 10 years. We were just talking a few minutes ago and he said the longest he’s ever been able to do this, breathe in out things simultaneously, the longest he’s ever been able to do that is 54 minutes.
And I think about this guy and he’s an incredible musician, who’s mastered this art and he has composed music and composed albums and worked with really well-known famous people in the industry, and he still with a doctorate degree, plays scales. And I think about that. I’ve been saying this for years and years and years Psychotherapy is an art. Solution Focused Brief Therapy is an art. And we have to practice our craft, which is the craft of asking questions.
And now when you play the saxophone, like that’s the visible craft. I can put a saxophone in this man’s hand, I can put him on a stage and he can play. And that’s his craft, but what’s behind that craft. And what’s the foundation of that craft is his breathing, which seems like a very basic skill. But without the breathing, you don’t have the craft. And our very basic skill is the way in which we view our clients and the perspective we take on our work. That’s the foundation of what we do.
Because without that foundation, we can’t ask good questions that lead towards change. So we have to practice this. This is our skill. This is our art. This is our craft. This is the thing we have to master. And of course I’ve always thought these things, but it was so amazing to spend time around someone from a completely different industry in a completely different area who exemplifies this.
And it’s why he has gained mastery over this. And it’s why he’s able to do the things he’s able to do in the music industry. And it’s such a wonderful reminder of the importance of continuing to work on your craft, which is actually what practice is. I think in our industry when we say practice, we think of the work that we do with our clients.
But when I say practice, what I mean is the continual pursuit of excellence in our art. And we have to do exercises as well. So I’m going to challenge you a bit. I’m gonna ask you to find someone in your life and I want you to sit with them and I want you to ask them, what’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever been through that you’re comfortable sharing.
I don’t want you to, to bully people into telling you their pain story, but ask them, what’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever been through that you’re comfortable sharing with me. And then I want you to ask them, how did you get through that? And try to find 10 attributes they have within themselves that helped them get through that thing what ever that challenging thing may be.
Now, 10 attributes is really hard. You’re going to have to dig deep. You have to work really, really hard to help them identify 10 things, but it’s going to give you the ability to practice remembering there’s always something in people that help them get to where they’re going and that paying attention to their attributes is so much more important than paying attention to their flaws.
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