I was recently part of project that required me to memorize over five pages of lines, rehearse them, refine my body language, physical expressions and intonation. This was totally different than anything I’ve ever done.

Except for one notable instance from my youth. When I was five or six, my brother would capture footage of me on our old VCR Video Camera. A few days later, he’d connect the camera to the TV and play the recording “live.” He’d humorously claim that he had submitted the film to the local station, and I was being broadcast throughout our town. It took me a while to decipher the ruse, but those early moments constituted my initial foray into on-camera practice. Unlike my recent project, this was just me being a “ham,” and it required no prior preparation.

In contrast, this recent project required meticulous preparation. My approach to preparation stems directly from my experiences in sports.

Start small. Repeat until mastered. Add segments of difficulty. Repeat until mastered. Add more complexity. Repeat until mastered. Put it all together. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Finally, perform.

This method mirrors how I used to make swing changes, learn a new short game technique, or practice my mental game in sports. I always started with the most basic move, gradually working my way up to complexity as I mastered each motion through repetition.

It’s the small minutiae that matters the most. While it may be exhausting and boring, the end result is incredibly rewarding. When you get put everything to the test on game day, that’s when it’s time to let go and have fun.

In the case of this project, though the domain was vastly different from golf, the approach remained the same. My background in sports enabled me to trust this process. While the initial task might have seemed challenging, breaking it down revealed that it was manageable and actually enjoyable. It felt satisfying to be in pursuit of improvement once again. This principle applies to various aspects of life—whether it’s fitness, health, work, or relationships. To enhance ourselves, all we need to do is start small, put in intentional repetitions, and eventually put everything to the test.

It’s in this journey that we find the joy of fulfillment—the victory before the victory, thriving in the process of life. This may well be the most important lesson I’ve ever learned in sports.

The Good Stuff

I learned the quote “victory before the victory” during my favorite sermon in college. It’s since been a goal of my life to love the daily “grind” and pursuit to live life to the fullest. This quote accurately depicts that concept.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” – Carl Rogers