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The Third Show…

How do you consistently make solid progress instead of sliding back to old habits or standards? The answer lies in the third show.






How do you consistently make progress instead of sliding back to old habits and standards? This week we’re Off Balance On Purpose in Sarasota, FL.
I performed for an audience for the first time when I was twelve. Overcome with nervousness, I almost backed out of it and away from what became my life’s work. But then my mentor gave me a great piece of wisdom. He said, “Dan, every time you do a show, you really do three shows. The one you plan. The one you do. And the one you should have done that you’ll think in the car on the way home.” In other words, get over it. You’re not going to be perfect. But you can engage the process.
Every time you do a “show,” or simply show up for an encounter, challenge, or conversation, there are three versions. The one you plan (what you think will happen). The one you do (what actually happens). And the one you process afterward.
Without a plan, you have no right to step on stage. Planning involves honing you skills, getting organized, setting clear objectives and understanding your priorities and purpose. It doesn’t always have to be extensive, but it does need to be intentional. What do you want, why do you want it, and what do you need to do to get ready?
When you step on stage, or into the challenge, the planning is over. It serves you, but not completely. Because planning leaves out the most important part… your audience! The people and realities you  encounter. So rather than trying to be perfect, strive to be present.
And then there’s the third show. The one you process afterward. What you should have, or could have, done. It can be humbling. But this is where most people miss the value! They assume that if they just show up again and keep repeating the process, they will get better. Not necessarily. Because the more you do something, the more you… do something. And you might just be reinforcing what isn’t working. Improvement is a choice before it becomes a process or a result.
Take time during that third show to validate what worked well. What surprised you? What could you have done better? Almost as if you’re coaching someone else, what would you tell them to do to improve? Then capture those takeaways, and apply them to your next plan, and your next performance.
This cycle is the learners path to continuous improvement. So show up, not once, but three times to plan your actions, perform in the moment, and process your next adjustments. Until next week, stay Off Balance On Purpose.


  • Diana Thurmon says:

    Terrific! Relates to everything you do in life.


    Great message this week, Dan! And don’t beat yourself up over the should a, could a, would a stuff. Learn from this experience and move forward to do better next time.

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