Goals: Become an Expert in Your Field

02/03/2023by dang tin0

Become An Expert In Your Field

“The uncommon man is merely the common man thinking and dreaming of success and in more fruitful areas.” By Melvin Powers

Like the army recruiting poster, one of your goals is to, “Be All You Can Be.” The market only pays excellent rewards for excellent performance. It pays average rewards for average performance and below average rewards, under achievement, failure and frustration for below average results.

In our economic system, your income will be determined by three factors: first, what you do; second, how well you do it; and third, the difficulty of replacing you.

One of the qualities of top people is that, at a certain point in their careers, they decided to “Commit to Excellence.” They decided to be the best at what they do. They decided to pay any price, make any sacrifice, and invest any amount of time necessary to become very good in their chosen fields. And as a result of this decision, they pulled away from the pack of average performers and moved themselves upward into the income category where today they earn three, four, five and ten times as much as their peers who have not made this commitment.

The 80/20 Rule Revisited

When I started my sales career many years ago, someone told me about the 80/20 Rule as it applied to sales. He said that 20% of the salespeople made 80% of the money. This means that 80% of the salespeople only make 20% of the money, and they have to divide it amongst themselves. At that point, many years ago, I decided that I would prefer to be a member of the top 20% rather than the bottom 80%. This decision changed my life forever.

Because I had come from a difficult childhood and received below average grades in school, I grew up with a poor self-image and a low level of self-confidence. It never occurred to me that I could be good at anything. If ever I attempted something and did it well, I immediately dismissed it as an accident or a lucky break. For years, I saw myself as an average or below average performer in any job I worked at.

The Great Insight

Then one day I had a sudden flash of insight. I realized that everybody who is in the top 10% of their field started in the bottom 10%. Everybody who is doing well today was once doing poorly. Everyone who is at the front of the buffet line of life started at the back of the line. And even more importantly, it dawned on me that whatever others have done, within reason, I could do as well. And this turns out to be true for just about everyone.

No one is better than you and no on is smarter than you. People are just better or smarter in different areas. In addition, all business skills are learnable. People who are dong better in some area of business have learned the essential skills, in combination with other skills, before you have. If you are not achieving what others are achieving, it simply means that you have just not learned these skills YET!

The Iron Law of Self-Development

Here was another breakthrough realization for me: “You can learn anything you need to learn to achieve any goal you can set for yourself.” There are no real limits on what you can accomplish, except for the limits that you place on own your mind and imagination. If you decide to become excellent, to join the top 10% of people in your field, there is nothing on earth that can stop you from getting there, except yourself.

Will it be easy? Of course not! I do not use the word “easy” in this book. Everything worthwhile takes a long time and a lot of work to accomplish. But it is possible if you want it badly enough and are willing to work long enough. And it is worth every bit of the effort once you get there!

Les Brown, the motivational speaker says, “To achieve something that you have never achieved before, you must become someone that you have never been before.”

Wolfgang von Goethe, the German philosopher said, “To have more, you must first be more.”

Once you decide to become one of the best people in your field, the only question you ask is, “How do I achieve it?” The very fact that hundreds of thousands, and even millions of people, have gone from the bottom to the top in every field is ample proof that you can do it as well. Many of these people, if not most of them, may not even have the natural talents and abilities that you have. In most areas of life, it is more hard work and dedication than natural ability and talent that leads to excellence and great success.

Is Education Essential For Success?

In an analysis of the members of the Forbes 400, the 400 richest men and women in America, conducted a couple of years ago, they found that a person who dropped out of high school and who made it into the Forbes 400 was worth, on average, $333 million dollars more than those who had completed college or university.

The reason I mention this is because many people feel that, if they didn’t get good grades in school, they are permanently limited in what they can accomplish later in life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the wealthiest, most successful men and women in America, and throughout the world, did poorly in school.

Remember the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” And the answer was, “One bite at a time.” This is the same way that you become absolutely excellent at what you do. You move to the top one step, one skill, one small improvement at a time.

Appreciating or Depreciating Asset?

The fact is that your current level of knowledge and skill is becoming obsolete at a faster rate today than ever before. I mentioned earlier that your “earning ability” can be an appreciating or a depreciating asset, depending upon whether or not you are upgrading it or simply allowing it to become obsolete. This is a choice you are making, or failing to make, every day.

The good news is that when you start to aggressively upgrade your knowledge and skills on the road to becoming one of the best people in your field, it will be as if you are in a race and you are the only one who is really running. You very soon move ahead of the pack and into the lead position. Meanwhile, most of your competitors are simply strolling along, doing just what they need to do to keep their jobs. The idea of committing to excellence has never even occurred to them, as it has to you.

Identify The Knowledge You Will Need

You begin your journey to excellence by asking the question, “What additional knowledge, skills, and information will I need to lead my field in the months and years ahead?”

Project yourself forward three to five years and imagine that you are one of the very best, highest paid people in your industry. What would have to have happened? What would you have to have done, learned or accomplished to reach this point? What skills would you have had to master to lead your field?

Make A Career Move

Once upon a time, I had a good friend who was a lawyer in a small firm. His father had been a lawyer so he had taken law when he went to university. When he got out of school in his early 20s, he began practicing law amongst his friends and associates. But he soon decided that law was not for him. He decided to make a career in business instead.

By this time he was about 26 years old. In the face of considerable opposition, he gathered all his resources and concentrated single mindedly in getting into Harvard University to attend their MBA program. It took him two years, but he finally achieved it. It then took him two more years to complete the required courses and graduate with the coveted Harvard MBA.

He returned to his home city and interviewed for various jobs, finally taking an entry-level management position at a rapidly growing airline. It turned out to be a perfect career move. Within ten years he was the President of the airline and earning ten times as much as any of the lawyers that he had graduated with some years before. He became one of the youngest and most respected executives in charge of a major company in the country.

You Will Have Multiple Jobs and Careers

It is estimated that the average person starting work today will have 14 full time jobs lasting two years or more, and four or five full time careers, in completely different businesses or industries. Fully 40 million Americans will be contingency workers for most of their careers. They will never work long-term for a single company but will instead move from company to company doing professional or technical jobs.

It is almost inevitable that your career will change continually as you grow and mature. You must be constantly looking down the road and thinking about the skills and competencies you will need to earn the kind of money you want to earn in the years ahead.

Identify Your Key Result Areas

As I mentioned before, every job is made up of about five to seven key result areas. In sales, for example, these seven key result areas consist of first, prospecting; second, establishing rapport; third, identifying needs; fourth, presenting solutions; fifth, answering objections; sixth, closing the sale; and seventh, getting re-sales and referrals from satisfied customers.

If you are in sales, you should give yourself a grade of one to ten, with one being the lowest and ten being the highest, in each of these areas. You need to have a minimum score of seven across the board to be in the top 20% of your field.

Once you have graded yourself in these seven areas, you should take the list to your boss, or even better, to one of your customers, and ask them to give you a grade as well. This could be a real eye-opener for you. Very often, your evaluation of yourself is much different and higher than the way you are evaluated by others.

Whatever your final grades, you must then select your weakest key skill and go to work on that skill to bring it up so that it is equal or greater than the others. Your weakest key skill sets the height of your income and determines how fast and how far you go in your career.

Move Onto the Fast Track

Here is the great go-forward question for the rest of your working life: “What one skill, if you developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on your career?” This becomes your focal point for personal and professional development. Your answer to this question is essential to your achieving excellence in your field.

Keep asking yourself: “What one skill, if I developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on my income and on my future in my current job?”

If you are at all unsure about the answer to this question, go to your boss and ask him or her. Ask your coworkers. Ask your staff. Ask your spouse and your friends. It is absolutely essential that you find out the answer to this question and then focus all of your energies on improving your performance in this particular area. This becomes your major definite purpose for personal and professional improvement. You write it down, set a deadline, make a plan, take action on your plan, and then do something every day to get better in this particular skill.

Once you have achieved mastery in your weakest key result area, you then ask the question again. “Now, what one skill will help me the most?” And whatever your answer to that question, you go to work on that skill until you achieve mastery in that area as well.

The highest paid people in every field score an 8, 9 or 10 across the board in each of their key result areas. This must also be your goal.

The Excellent Executive

If you are in management, there are seven key result areas that determine your success or failure at your job. These are: 1) Planning; 2) Organizing; 3) Staffing; 4) Delegating; 5) Supervising; 6) Measuring and 7) Reporting.

All top managers are excellent in every one of these areas. All poor managers are weak in one or more of these areas. A serious weakness in any one of these key result areas can be fatal to your success in your work.

For example, if you were absolutely excellent in every part of managing except for delegating, that would hold you back, every day of your career. I have worked with managers who were so poor at delegating that they could get nothing done. They eventually had to be fired because of the damage they were causing to the rest of the business.

Give yourself a grade of one to ten in each of these key result areas. Ask people around you to grade you as well. And be honest. Seek for the truth rather than a diplomatic answer from a polite co-worker.

Perform a 360-Degree Analysis

One of the popular management tools being used today is called a “360 Degree Analysis.” In this type of analysis, a survey is given to several people who report to a particular manager. The survey is filled out anonymously and all the surveys are returned to an outside consultant who summarizes the answers on the survey. This summary of answers is then given to the manager so that he or she can see how he or she is perceived by others. It often comes as quite a shock to the manager.

For example, the manager will say, “I make careful and thoughtful decisions.” But the staff will say, “He is weak, indecisive and insecure when it comes to making decisions.”

In a recent management study, 75% of all managers rated themselves in the top 25% of managers in terms of effectiveness. Most managers rated themselves in the top 20% in terms of personality and intelligence, as well. We have a natural tendency to rate ourselves very highly, no matter what the quality or characteristic. This is why it is so helpful for a person to be rated by his or her peers on a regular basis.

Set Personal Improvement As A Goal

Once you have determined the key result area where you want and need to improve the most, you set it as a goal, make a plan, determine a standard and set a deadline. Then, you go to work to improve yourself in that area every day. In a week, a month or a year, you will look back and you will be absolutely excellent in that skill area. You will have become an expert.

Accept Yourself the Way You Are

One of the most popular business books in recent years is called First, Discover Your Strengths! This book follows from an earlier best seller, First, Break All The Rules! The common conclusion of both of these books is that, “People don’t change.”

You are born with certain natural skills, abilities, tendencies, strengths, weaknesses and talents. These emerge in early life and usually crystallize in your late teens. They do not change very much over the course of your lifetime.

One of the most important things you do in your career is to identify what it is that you are really good at, or what you can become good at, and then put your whole heart into becoming excellent in that area.

Mary Baker Follett, a management consultant in the 1920’s, once wrote, “The very best direction to ride a horse is in the direction it is going.” The very best way to develop yourself is in the direction of your natural talents and interests. Jim Cathcart, the author and speaker, says, “Nurture your nature.” This is extremely important advice that you should follow throughout your career.

You are put on this earth with special talents and abilities that make you unique and different from all other people who have ever lived. Throughout your life, you have often found yourself to an area of activity where your special talents and abilities have enabled you to accomplish more, and to enjoy what you are doing at a higher level, than anything else you could do. One of your great goals in life is to identify and isolate the one or two things that you can do better, and enjoy more, than anything else, and then concentrate on becoming absolutely excellent in those areas.

Develop Your Talents

Michael Jordan, the basketball player, once said, “Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.” The poet Longfellow once wrote, “The great tragedy of the average man is that he goes to his grave with his music still in him.”

You could struggle for years at a job for which you were ill suited, and then find yourself in the perfect field, and make more progress in a couple of years than you had made in the 20 years preceding.

Napoleon Hill once wrote that the key to success in America is for you to “find out what you really love to do, and then find a way to make a good living doing it.”

Most self-made millionaires say, “I never worked a day in my life.” What they did was to find out what they really enjoyed, and then they did more and more of it.

Identify Your Special Talents

There are eight ways for you to identify and determine your special talents, and what you are uniquely suited to do. Here they are:

First, you will always be the best and happiest at something that you love to do. If you could afford it, you would do it without pay. It brings out the very best in you and you get a tremendous amount of satisfaction and enjoyment when you are engaged in that particular work.

Second, you do it well. You seem to have a natural ability to perform in this area.

Third, this talent has been responsible for most of your success and happiness in life, up until now. From an early age, it is something

that you have enjoyed to do and from which you got the greatest rewards and compliments from other people.

Fourth, it is something that was easy for you to learn and easy to do. In fact, it was so easy to learn that you actually forget when and how you learned it. You just found yourself doing it easily and well one day.

Fifth, it holds your attention. It absorbs you and fascinates you. You like to think about it, read about it, talk about it and learn about it. It seems to attract you, like a moth to a flame.

Sixth, you love to learn about it and become better at it all your life. You have a deep inner desire to really excel in this particular area.

Seventh, when you do it, time stands still. You can often work in your area of special talent for long periods without eating or sleeping, hour after hour, because you get so involved in it.

And eighth, you really admire and respect other people who are good at what you are most suited to do. You want to be like them and be around them and emulate them in every way.

If the above descriptions apply to anything that you are doing, or anything that you have done in the past, they can lead you into what you were uniquely put on this earth to do, to your “heart’s desire.”

You Are Born To Excel

Your natural talents are inborn and easy to develop. They are programmed into your subconscious mind. They are what you were put on this earth to do. Your job is to discover this area of natural talent and ability and then to develop it throughout your life.

Many skills are complementary. They are dependent on each other. This means that you must have one skill at a certain level in order to use your other skills at a higher level. Sometimes, you have to learn and develop skills that you do not particularly love and enjoy. But this is the price you pay to be able to achieve excellence in your chosen field.

One Skill Away

Here is the rule: You could be only one skill away from doubling your productivity, performance and income. You may only need to bring up your skill level in one area for you to be able to use all of your other skills at a higher level.

Remember that all business skills are learnable. Business skills are not genetically determined. If there is any business skill that you need to learn to realize and utilize your full potential, you can learn it by practice and repetition.

Avoid the Trap Of the Poor Performer

It is quite common that, if you are weak in a particular skill, you will avoid taking action in that skill. You will fall into the trap of “learned helplessness.” You will say, “I’m not really very good in that area.” Or, “I don’t have any natural talent or ability in that skill.”

But this is merely rationalization and justification. If the skill is important enough to you, you can learn it. The very worst decision of all is for you to allow yourself to be held back for months or years because you lack a single, simple skill that is readily learnable through dedication and determination. Don’t let this happen to you.

Excellence Is A Journey

There is an old saying, “Anything worth doing well, is worth doing poorly at first.” It is not practice that makes perfect; it is imperfect practice that eventually makes perfect.

Whenever you start something new, you can expect to do it poorly. You will feel clumsy and awkward at first. You will feel inadequate and inferior. You will often feel silly and embarrassed. But this is the price that you pay to achieve excellence in your field. You will always have to pay the price of success, in advance, and that price often involves the hard work of mastering a difficult skill that you need to move to the top of your field.

Wave Your Magic Wand

Use the magic wand technique. Imagine that you could wave a magic want and be absolutely excellent at any particular skill. What would it be? If you could wave a magic wand and have any wish at all with regard to your talents and skills, what would you wish for?

Whatever your answer to these questions will often be an indication of the new goals that you have to set with regard to the skills and abilities that you need to develop to be the best at what you do.

Become a lifelong “do-it-to-yourself” project. Be prepared to invest one, two or three years to become absolutely excellent in a critical area. Be willing to pay any price, make any sacrifice to be the best at what you do.

The Three Plus One Formula

There is a three plus one formula for mastering any skill. It is simple, and it works every single time. First, read in the skill area each day, even if only for 15 to 30 minutes. Knowledge is cumulative. The more you read and learn, the more confident you will become that you can do this job in an excellent fashion.

Second, listen to educational audio programs on the subject in your car. The average driver today spends 500 to 1000 hours each year in his car driving around during the day. Turn driving time into learning time. You can become one of the best educated people in your field by simply listening to audio programs in your car rather than music.

Third, attend seminars and workshops on your subject. Many people’s lives have been changed completely by attendance at a single one or two day seminar on a key subject. Forever after, they were completely different in that area.

And the final factor is to practice what you learn at the earliest possible opportunity. Every time you hear a good idea, take action on it. The person who hears one idea and takes action on it is more valuable than a person who hears a hundred ideas but takes action on none of them.

Practice Make Perfect

The more you practice what you are learning, the faster you will become competent and skilled in that area. The more you practice, the more confidence you will develop. The more you practice, the more rapidly you will overcome your feelings of inadequacy in that skill and the faster you will master it. The more you practice, the more rapidly you will add that skill to your mental toolbox where you will possess it for the rest of your career.

Resolve today, right now, to join the top 10% of people in your field. Determine who they are, what they earn and what they do differently from you. Determine the special knowledge and skills they have developed and resolve to develop them yourself. Remember, anything that anyone has done, within reason, you can do as well. No one is better than you and no one is smarter than you. The very fact that the top people in your field were at one time not even in your field at all, is proof that whatever they have achieved, you can achieve yourself, if you simply set it as a goal, and work at it long enough and hard enough. There are no limits.

Become An Expert In Your Field:

1. Resolve to day to join the top 10% of people in your field. Make a lifelong commitment to excellence.

2. Identify the key result areas of your job, the things you “absolutely, positively” have to do well to be successful in your field.

3. Identify your weakest key area and start a “do-it-to-yourself” project to become excellent in that area.

4. Determine the additional knowledge you will need to get to the top of your field and then develop a plan to acquire that knowledge.

5. Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning. Read, listen to audio programs, attend courses and seminars, and then put what you learn into action as quickly as you can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *