In David Perell's excellent essay titled "Learn Like An Athlete", he brings up a thought-provoking analogy:
Athletes train. Musicians train. Performers train. But knowledge workers don’t.
Knowledge workers should train like LeBron, and implement strict “learning plans.” To be sure, intellectual life is different from basketball. Success is harder to measure and the metrics for improvement aren’t quite as clear. Even then, there’s a lot to learn from the way top athletes train. They are clear in their objectives and deliberate in their pursuit of improvement.
Knowledge workers should imitate them.
Tyler Cowen, further developing this idea, wrote this post:
Recently, one of my favorite questions to bug people with has been “What is it you do to train that is comparable to a pianist practicing scales?” If you don’t know the answer to that one, maybe you are doing something wrong or not doing enough. Or maybe you are (optimally?) not very ambitious?
Deliberate practice is crucial for all of us consultants. It's one of the key ideas included in the training I provide to partners who want to learn and improve their business development skills.
Being born a rainmaker is nothing but a myth. Every complex skill can be earned and learned, and this is not my personal opinion - there's plenty of research and scientific evidence to support this.
Reading Tyler's practice question - “What is it you do to train that is comparable to a pianist practicing scales?” - immediately reminded me about the 200th blog post I published here. What excited me the most was not the number of posts or words I've written. It was how I was practicing my writing skills.
How are you practicing to become a better consultant? How could you train like an athlete? What are the scales or drills that you need to go through every day?
Simply working a lot isn't enough to make you an expert and top performer.