If you’ve spent any time at an archery range, you already know how peaceful of an experience it can be. It’s just you, your bow, and the target in front of you.
But tranquility isn’t the only benefit of spending a few hours at the range. In fact, archery practice can help you develop your business acumen over time.
Here are a few ways archery practice allows you to hone core business skills.
Whether you work at a Fortune 500 company or a local high school, you probably spend a lot of time discussing goals. And for good reason. It’s difficult to grow as an individual and as an organization if you aren’t establishing performance benchmarks and measuring progress toward them.
But if you’re solely focused on hitting numbers, you can lose sight of the inputs required to meet even the most modest of goals. Eventually, this can lead to employees cutting corners and massaging numbers, which defeats the purpose of setting goals in the first place.
Archery practice is in many ways similar. Spending too much time thinking about the size and distance of a target can negatively impact your form. Over time, this can lead to declining accuracy and precision. To keep it short, it’s important to be goal-oriented, but don’t sacrifice what matters to reach your performance metrics.
Perfection is unattainable. But that doesn’t mean we should forgo constantly trying to improve our craft.
Let’s imagine you often hit the range with your trusty crossbow. No matter how many times you fire down range at a target, and regardless of how often you fine-tune the bow, you’ll never achieve perfection. You’ll miss bullseyes and, sometimes, you won’t even come close. It’s no different at work.
As a manager, it’s critical to instill in those whom you manage a growth mindset. They should view feedback from you as an opportunity to continue developing as a professional. The same is true at an organizational level. Successful companies examine themselves to determine what they are doing well and where they can improve, and then implement changes. Even if you’re a 40-year veteran with your company, you can still grow.
Google “digital transformation” and you’ll see hundreds of pages discussing how companies are embracing technology to streamline their internal processes. Technology undoubtedly makes life easier, but it can’t replace human ingenuity.
Going back to our example from earlier, let’s say you go out and buy one of the most advanced crossbows on the market today. After purchasing it, you spend a few hours a month at the range. One afternoon, you go out to the range and watch the guy on the range next to you hitting the bullseye over and over again using a decades-old crossbow while you can barely get a shot off.
Companies looking to make big investments in the latest business software can learn from this example. Unless you have the personnel on hand who are not only able to use the software but truly get the most out of it, you will never realize its full value. It’s not exactly an original phrase, but it’s true, in this case: Business is about people.
In business, being able to collaborate with others and incorporate the opinions of many into key decisions is critical. That said, capable leaders are able to overcome their self-doubt to make key decisions for their organization.
Once again, archery practice can help you become more confident in your convictions. If you’re serious about archery, you know how difficult it can be at times to release your shot. You’ve spent countless hours practicing with your recurve bow or modern crossbow, and you’ve spent time lining up your shot. You don’t want all of this work to be for naught. But, in the back of your mind, you know all of your practice has prepared you for this moment, and so you let go.
It’s the same in business. A day will come when you need to make a decision that affects many people. When that time comes, you need to believe your experience has given you the foresight required to make an informed decision. Archery exposes you to these moments every time you take a shot.
If you haven’t already, give archery a try. You’ll soon find ways to apply the lessons above — and many others — to your work life. Happy shooting!