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Lessons From a Snowy Driveway

When I was young my family lived in northern British Columbia, Canada and it was normal to have fourteen feet of snow accumulating every winter. In fact, there were times when we could toboggan off the roof. Now as a youngster it was entertaining; to an adult - not so much.

Lesson #1: Practice Does Not Always Make Perfect

As a youngster I loved going outside with my dad and "help shovel" It was always fun for me but not necessarily for my dad. As he shoveled snow to the sides of the driveway, I shoveled snow from one pile to another in the middle of the drive. (No sense wasting all of that time walking to the edge.)
Day after day the same scenario took place until....

 

Lesson #2: The Power of Habit

One day dad pointed out that if I was to shovel the snow all the way to the sides he could lift it up onto the big pile and keep things clear in the driveway for the car. Shoveling it to the side would help him tremendously. Well it was a little more work for me, especially in the snow suit that made you look like and have to mobility of a miniature sumo wrestler, but if it would help dad I was more than willing.

Week after week I took the snow over to the sides so my dad could lift it up on to the bank. As I got older, grew taller and my shovel got bigger, I too was able to push more snow to the side and begin lifting it up onto the banks. Pretty soon I was so good at it that I could attempt to do it all by myself. Once it became habit it was just something I did without being asked to do it. (I suspect now that my dad knew more about human psychology than I gave him credit for.)

Lesson # 3: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

As the winters went by I became the vice-president of driveway shoveling, and began to learn lessons in physics. If I simply piled the snow up to the sides and did not put a convex curve on the bank with the shovel, the snow bank would eventually collapse and slide back into the drive. Once I mastered those techniques I could easily create two meter high backs. (Could have been higher but my 4ft 12 1/2" height was somewhat limiting.) When the snow kept coming I would have to push the snow to the roadway and start piling it up along the front lawn. I would always be impressed by the long straight, perfectly shaped walls of snow. It made me feel good. (Bet it made my dad feel even better.) There is nothing like positive accomplishment to feed the soul.

Valuable Lessons = Valuable Tools

Those three lessons have served me well over the years both in business and in my personal life. I use them constantly day in and day out.

Lesson #1: Practice Does Not Always Make Perfect

Make small adjustments to skill and attitude until results fall into line with expectation.

Lesson #2: The Power of Habit

It only takes 21 days to create a habit so make sure they are good habits you are forming. Positive habits are extremely valuable tools.

Lesson # 3: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

If you want perfection then one must concentrate on perfecting one's craft. Practicing a flawed technique will not result in perfection. Learn the correct skills and then practice them and polish them to perfection.

Lani Donaldson