"If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you."
Gordon McKenzie

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I've just run the sea wall here in Vancouver for the first time in 5 weeks, due to inclement weather and the closure of the wall due to landslides. As I ran, I was reflecting on how important practice is for our work.

As good as it felt to be out there running, and it was beautiful, the sea calm and the sun warm, I was feeling muscles that hadn't been working for that length of run in a while. I did it, but I was very conscious of the muscles working.

The same is true of our work with people. Staying looped in, coaching, listening, guiding and mentoring, to name only a few, are practices, not simply tasks. If we don't get to practice, or we let up on ourselves and find other tasks to do, we fall out of our game, even just a bit.

Now, recall I ran the sea wall, and I wasn't much slower than I was 5 weeks ago, so obviously I wasn't too much off my game. But I was aware nonetheless of being out of practice.

In my coaching practice, I've realized a similar process, the first meeting or call after I've been doing other things for a week or two, goes well, but I realize I'm out of practice.

It may help for you to think of your role as coach, guide or mentor as a practice that requires attention. Perhaps its a commitment to yourself that you'll have a conscious coaching, guiding or mentoring conversation everyday, or that you'll get out from behind your desk, everyday and find one person in your organization to engage with that you haven't spoken with in the last week.

I hope that you'll find a way to make a positive difference in another's life this week.