Simply put, becoming a true expert in your field will increase your success. It’s a fact, but it’s something that I didn’t learn until much later. No matter what you do, the more expertise you have, the more successful you will be.
Think about any successful people you know. Their success is most likely directly associated with their knowledge, familiarity and fluency with their line of work. The better your skills and the more knowledge you have, the more valuable you are in the workplace. Employers know the difference between those people who simply try to coast through versus those who are genuinely applying themselves. Just like in sports, you can be a player like everyone else, or you can be the MVP.
Unless you’re relying on pure luck, this is the definitive rule of thumb to follow. Be the MVP.
And, even if you feel you are an ‘expert’ in your category, you can always become more of an expert. Here are some simple ways to gain more expertise:
- Mentor: find an official (or unofficial) mentor from whom you can learn. This person can be somebody you work with, somebody from your school, somebody from another company – anybody who is more senior than you. You’ll be surprised how much people love to share their knowledge / wisdom / expertise in this type of relationship.
- Read Lots: Whether you have a mentor or not, be sure to read as much as you can on your category. Research online, read about what other experts in your field have to say, etc. There is so much to learn simply from reading. It will enrich you and provoke you to think differently, adding to your skillsets, sense of the business, market, etc. By reading you become more articulate about your work and being able to speak in a very educated / fluent way about your work is very important.
- Additional classes (online or otherwise): find coursework on different aspects of your work. The more coursework you take, the more formally trained you become and the more valuable you are.
- Push yourself and create a schedule: Let’s be honest – we spend a LOT OF TIME doing things are not very productive . By creating a reasonable schedule for studying, researching, meeting with your mentor, etc. you’ll be more likely to do it. I find that doing this first thing in the morning a couple/few days a week if very productive. That’s the time that I’m sharpest and it feels great later in the day knowing that I’ve been very productive in the AM. Make your schedule sustainable – something that you’ll stick to. So, if that means doing ‘extra studying’ only one or two days a week, that’s a great start.
What will you gain from doing this:
- Valuable perception in the workplace from superiors: your peers and superiors will respect you more. If applicable, your customers will appreciate your more. And this will likely correlate to job security. If an employer needs to downsize, they will likely let go the least valuable staff first. Be the most valuable employee by being the most knowledgeable.
- Serious knowledge: You will gain additional expertise that you can always use – at the current job, in future jobs or if you choose to create your own business.
- Gratification: It feels really good to be productive and to know you’re getting the most out of your current job /role.
- Job stability: The more you know, the more you can contribute to the workplace, the more stable your position should be.
- Increased compensation: If you are an expert, you should be paid like an expert and have better negotiating power when it comes to salary.
- Promotions: When you’re more valuable in the workplace, you’re more likely to be promoted more often.
- Control of your destiny / choices: Stay at your current job? Move to another job? Create your own company? When you’re a real expert, you have the control.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. How has being an expert created advantages for you? Have you suffered because of lack of knowledge in the workplace? Please share?
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