Practice your Profession… Follow the Olympics Example

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While watching the various Olympics events and listening to the interviews with the medalists, there seems to be a recurring theme — _practice pays off_. I don’t hear anyone saying it was luck that got them to this place. You hear about the hard work, the pain points, the struggles individuals go through. Many talk about almost quitting but talking themselves into doing _one more day_ in their sport.

To be good at anything, you must practice. The profession of project management is no different. Many of the people that are so successful now have stories to tell of their less than perfect days in their profession.

When I was thinking about this blog post, a book on my shelf came to mind [Why Smart People Do Dumb Things](http://www.amazon.com/Why-Smart-People-Dumb-Things/dp/0671892584 “buy this book on Amazon”) by Mortimer Feinberg. It reminds me that even those of us with professional credentials like certified PMP or extreme intelligence are not guaranteed success in our jobs. Many times I noticed in the Olympics that the person with the World Title was not guaranteed to receive a medal in the Olympics.

Here is a short snippet from the book about a leader who did not practice his profession.

> Oxford graduate and educational psychologist Cyril Ludowic Burt plunged into the field of intelligence measurement and soon became a prominent professor of psychology in 1932. The controversy at the time was – is intelligence controlled by environment (upbringing) or heredity. The best way to prove this controversy was to study identical twins who were raised separately. Cyril Burt’s viewpoint on this was that intelligence is inherited. His most noted case was of a set of twins raised separately named George and Llewellyn. George was known for his spectacular academic career as an adult, while Llewellyn was raised with little education and became a farmer. The IQ tests came back for George at 136 and Llewellyn 137. Every time another noted psychologist had evidence to prove environment, Cyril Burt came up with another set of twins to prove his point. Over the years, he had 50 pairs of twins raised separately but with similar IQs.
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> Cyril Burt was well respected and was given great accolades in his profession until Leon Kamin, a Princeton psychologist, did a little math. As it turns out the average correlation between the IQ results of each set of twins remained unchanged to the third decimal place. Statistically, this was virtually impossible. This opened the case to examine Cyril Burt’s work more closely. Sadly, while he made some excellent contributions to the profession early in his career, he fabricated results later on to support his position. As others reviewed his career, they commented on how he was a great practicing psychologist with an excellent reputation who tried to shortcut the road to success.

There are no shortcuts as we have heard from numerous Olympians. You constantly need to practice your profession on a daily basis and take the good with the bad to eventually achieve a higher level of greatness. So what this means for us – show up each day and take on a new challenge, just like the Olympians do in their four years of preparation.

Should you need help practicing the profession of project management, you can grab an Advisicon book from our newly revised [online store](http://store.advisicon.com “Visit our online store!”).

*[PMP]: Project Management Professional

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    Joshua Monen

    Nice post Cindy. This reminds me how important it is to develop healthy habits. As you said, Olympic athletes don’t attribute their success to “luck.” Most would agree that luck isn’t the reason for an athlete’s success. But I find it interesting when people think creating wealth or success in a career hinges on “luck.” It’s 99% hard work and discipline. Perhaps 1% luck. Thanks for sharing!

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