How Do You Know?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 by Jake Hahn | self development

I did a little experiment.

Starting around the beginning of May I took down some very specific notes across all of my current clients. Ranging in age from 7 to 72 years old. From guitar students to my full on life coaching clients. While everyone is different, and there are countless possibilities for eliciting change in a person, one thing continually popped up in our sessions.

No measuring stick.

The problem wasn't that people didn't know what they wanted or where they wanted to go (although in some cases this was quite true) it was more about them not knowing whether or not they were actually getting there.

As a coach I use a 5 step process with a 9 step sub-process to help people make positive and measurable change toward their target(s). 

For example: What happens when you're sitting at home alone about to practice your instrument with no guidance? No outside perspective? No one to point out when you've done something "correctly" or when you may need to adjust?

You need an internal compass of sorts.

So the question to ask yourself is - "How will I know when I have it?"

This is what I call an "evidence procedure".

You need a way or a "model" to gauge your progress. 

Think about your last practice session - or the last time you had a general goal in your life.

Did you make progress? Did you achieve your goal? HOW do you know? Was it a feeling? How did you choose to measure your outcome? Were your results real or were they just a vague feeling of some sort of accomplishment?

I'm suggesting that you approach your next practice session with the mindset of a detective. Look for evidence. Don't simply assume that because you sat down and "practiced" for an hour that you must have gotten better. That "shotgun" approach doesn't leave enough evidence behind.

If you're learning a new song but you can't currently play 3 of the chords that are crucial for that song, 

  • isolate one of those chords
  • repeat that chord by itself
  • put it into the context of the song

At the end of your practice session you can look back and observe that before you started you couldn't play that chord. Now, not only can you play that chord, you can also perform it as part of the overall song you're wanting to be able to play.

Measurable evidence that you just got better, and that particular practice session was well worth your time and energy.

What "evidence procedure" do YOU personally use?

Your friend and coach,