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September 20, 2005

See the picture... BANG!

Last week, I returned from a week or so in the UK - I've been recovering and spending time with the family, hence the slow posting.  It was quite a busy week business-wise, but we managed to squeeze in a bit of fun.

As you may have noticed, from previous posts, I try to find patterns and models in life and see how and where I can apply them.  Since you often find what you're looking for, it's no surprise that I found a pattern within one of these activities.

One Saturday we engaged in clay pigeon shooting at the E.J. Churchill Shooting Ground.  My colleague Chris Morgan arranged the day and we were accompanied by a couple of business friends.

This was my first time shooting moving targets, and I learned a lot.  I had a great coach named Fred who helped me tremendously. 

In the beginning, Fred drilled me on the proper way to hold the gun for this type of shooting, and had me practice tracking across the shooting ground.Me_n_fred

In the next part of the lesson, I held the gun and Fred guided it along the path with the target, and said "Bang" in my ear when he wanted me to pull the trigger.  We did that several times for each target type and he instructed me to "See the picture" of what it looks like when the target is ready to be shot.  The hardest part of this instruction was for me to relax and let him guide the gun - when I tried to fight his guidance, I invariably missed.

Then, Fred turned me loose and had me move the gun and fire on my own.  When I "saw the picture" I pulled the trigger and began hitting my targets.

At the end of the 2-hour session, I'd hit 65% of my targets and had shot better than any of my 3 more experienced companions.

The lessons I took away from this:

  • It's easier to succeed if you can visualize what success looks like
  • It's easier to see what success looks like if you have a good coach to help you see it
  • You have to be willing to accept help, even when it feels uncomfortable
  • Technique and concentration can win out over experience
  • Listen to your coach

In short - listen to your mentors, visualize success, see the picture...BANG!


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