That's how long it takes to master your craft, according to bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell. Whether you want to become a better leader, an expert in marketing or a master of a language, it's going to take time. With all of the new social media platforms and business opportunities, it's easy to get pulled in directions away from developing your core skill.
To truly excel you have to double down on mastering your craft, whatever it may be.
For me, in 2014 I started writing articles on marketing and leadership. However, I didn't get much attention on the pieces.
The reason was simple, I wasn't a strong enough writer.
So I went back to basics and wrote, a lot. I wrote for business blogs, on LinkedIn, Medium, etc. -- all with the intent of developing my craft.
As I sit today, I'm still a long way away from my 10,000 hours, but I'm committed to getting closer to it daily.
By committing to improve my writing skills, I'm simultaneously turning myself into a better communicator. This has been helpful outside of articles, in places like emails to prospective clients, coworkers, etc.--the road to mastery has its unforeseen benefits along the way.
Here are 4 ways you can take steps towards mastery daily.
1. Set aside time to practice daily
If you don't set aside time to work on developing your skills it will happen sporadically and often yield no results.
Getting better needs to be part of your everyday routine.
One way to do this is to set aside time every day in your calendar to focus all of your attention on skill development. This technique is called time-blocking and can help you become more productive.
Remember, tools are often useless if not sharpened regularly.
2. Get mentors to help move you forward
Getting a mentor, someone who has done what you're trying to do, can propel your development forward much faster than doing it alone. They can also safeguard you against potential blind spots along the way to mastering your craft.
3.Understand you're a work in progress
Tom Brady wasn't able to throw a football overnight nor was Jeff Bezos able to create Amazon into the powerhouse it is today without committing massive amounts of time towards their skills.
You are a work in progress, never a finished product. Leonardo Da Vinci once said, "art is never finished, only abandoned." This quote emulates a lot of how you need to think about mastery--you will continually improve until you die.
4. Take one step at a time
Getting to the top of the mountain in your industry starts with one step in that direction. Similar to the point above on being a work in progress, you have to plot out what small activities you can do daily that will help you towards mastery.
For New York Times' bestseller, Tim Ferriss, he makes himself write two pages a day of material. This keeps in the act of consistent writing, regardless of if the writing is great.
Becoming an expert at something comes at a price, and that price is a combination of time and effort.