When I’m working to prepare a lesson, develop a workshop activity or write a blog sometimes the process goes quickly. At moments like this, I’m reminded of a saying a friend shared: “It took you 20 minutes and 20 years of preparation.”

There is a vast difference between “winging it” and relying on years of experience that can contribute to the task at hand. It’s not just for teachers or writers – carpenters require 20 minutes + 20 years to know how to make a cut that’s just right; doctors rely on 20 minutes + 20 years to correctly diagnose a disease; artists use 20 minutes + 20 years to know where to draw that initial outline.

Enjoy those rare moments when your skill comes easily, but don’t discount the years of practice that got you to this point. You are worth your value in years, not minutes.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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