People observe and form impressions about one another as part of our daily interactions. We can assume that we are on stage every day and that our performance may affect not only us but other people as well.

We can influence the impressions that we leave with people when we:

  1. Take responsibility for our performance
  2. Give a credible performance
  3. Prepare for the performance
  4. Give our best performance

Let’s look at how preparation for our performance affects our message…impression. Most people would agree that professional actors/actresses spend a lot of time in preparation for their role. They did not begin the preparation process when they became successful. They prepared in order to become successful.

Malcome Gladwell in “The Outliers” states that practice is not what you do when you are good at something. It is what you do in order to get good at something. It takes 10,000 hours to get good at something.

How much preparation do we do in order to impress some one? Actually, the impression that you give will be directly proportional to the investment you make in preparation. When I gave the example of me going to Home Depot in my dirty old coveralls, I really wasn’t thinking about seeing a patient.

But if I’m about to walk into an exam room, I want the patient to see me as someone who can help them. Same guy but different preparation for the performance.

People often ask me, how long did it take you to write your book, “It’s Not What I Know…It’s How I Learned It?” When I tell them, they often say, “I could never do that. I don’t have the time.” They will never write a book. It has nothing to do with the content of the book, it’s that they won’t invest in what it takes to write a book.

I went 13 years of training after high school. They will say, “I could never do that.” Then you will never be a surgeon. We all must invest time, money, and effort in order to function in society. That investment is preparation. The more we prepare, the more we get. Opportunity presents itself at the intersection of preparation and ambition.

It is said that we only get one chance at being a parent. Then we get one chance at being a grandparent. How do we prepare for these important assignments in life? We get our first lessons when we watch our parents and grandparents. We may opt of emulate them or we may choose to change what we see based on the influence of others or personal experience.

Always on Stage: PreparationThe decision that we make is based on an impression. What we learned from mom and dad, from grandpa and grandma. Is it important then that we give the right impression to our children? They are watching. You are on stage.

Preparing to be a parent is not simply taking Parenting 101 and 102, getting a certificate and then go have a few kids. It’s an on going process. It’s constant preparation and execution.

It’s sad when a young person says that they never want to have kids, or they never want to get married. They weren’t born with that idea. They learned it from observing the parenting or marriage process. It came from credible people…parents, who did not adequately prepare for their performance or did not take responsibility for their performance.

People emulate a good performance. I want to do what she does. I want to be just like dad. I want to become a policemen or a teacher…emulating a well-prepared performance.

I watched our daughter practice gymnastics 5 days a week for years and subsequently receive scholarships to a division 1 college. 10,000 hours!

How much do you have to prepare to make an impression? Learn to smile, look them in the eye and shake their hand. It takes a few minutes and a decision but it will make an impression.

Even the guy in the mirror likes a smile. He will smile back every time. If you smile at him enough times, you will be prepared to make a good impression with out the mirror. You are always on stage.

Make it a great day Dr L

Next: Delivering your best performance.