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Beauty Practice

A simple exercise for improving...everything.

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

Five years ago, I developed and began using a practice with my students, collaborators and clients: it's called beauty practice. It's a simple way to make demonstrable improvements in your work and in your experience of the world. Give it a try and see if it works for you. There are two steps, one is general, the other is specific to your work. If you can, use them both. It's easy to do and should show results almost immediately. I've seen this work in all kinds of different areas of work and for individuals and teams.

Beauty Practice: General

1. Each day, try and notice one thing that is beautiful;

2. Make a record of it. Maybe you can take a picture and post it online, enter it in a journal, or just tell someone about it. By noticing, and then explaining beauty you will develop a habit of noticing beauty and you will begin to change the way you see the world. You will also notice that your sharing will help others see beauty.

Beauty Practice: Your Work

1. Each day, look for one example of beauty in the world you work in;

2. Record it and then break it down in detail to see if you can understand why it is beautiful.

Whether you work in accounting, service, volunteer work, sports, or education there are people doing the work in a beautiful way. If you train yourself to see excellence, and then develop a practice of breaking down the ways that others are doing great work in your area of expertise you will train yourself to see success in your field, and you will build a tool kit that allows you to bring beauty into your work;

3. Start meetings or collaborations with a discussion of beauty in the area you are working in. If your team is working on a project, starting a meeting with a discussion of how work in the area is done well will set a tone that is based on excellence rather than on identifying problems and challenges;

4. See if you can get others you are working with to collaborate with you on beauty practice. If you are all working in the same area, you'll get more insight. If you are collaborating, gainng an understanding of waht excellence looks like to your team members will help you better connect with them, and with the conditions necessary for them to excel;

5. Comment on beauty when you see it. If you can, comment on excellence in your field. If you see someone who is doing their work in a way you would like to emulate, noticing that they are doing something special and then connecting with them will often start a relationship that will lead to them sharing tips with you about how to improve your work.

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