A great way to become more valuable in your current job--or to make a major career change--is to become an expert. The good news is that it is never too late to become an expert by either developing a base of knowledge within your current field of work, or in an entirely new one.
How does becoming an expert at something you love--and earning more money as a result--sound?
Try these three steps to becoming an expert and you, too, can revitalize your current position, or begin an exciting journey toward a new you.
1. Figure out what you're interested in
First you need to evaluate your current position. What do you know right now that you are close to being an expert in? You are probably already an expert, or close to one, at what you are currently doing, so you can easily build upon that expertise and take it to the next level. This is a much easier, less time-intensive route to take than learning something entirely new.
However, if what you are currently doing no longer interests you, you'll need to figure out what does. Make this your first priority. Whatever route you take, what you choose to be an expert in has to be inspiring so that the necessary reading and learning seem effortless to you because it resonates with every fiber of your being. Everyone has one--some have more than one--you just need to find it.
2. Focus on one subject at a time
Get rid of your cluttered mind and focus on one subject at a time. Overwhelming yourself by trying to learn too many things at one time will only set you up for failure. Focus. If you want to become a website designer, begin learning how to build one form of website--say, WordPress--before you take on all the others. Once you feel comfortable with one, move to another. Before you know it, you will begin to feel like and be an expert website designer.
3. Remember that practice makes perfect
Becoming an expert overnight just isn't going to happen. You are going to have to put a lot of work and dedication into becoming an expert at anything. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a particular field. While you may not have to devote that much time to become an expert, depending on the subject you select, you are looking at hundreds to thousands of hours of some or all of the following:
- Studying--reading books, online courses, attending college, watching videos, attending seminars and training programs, learning from other experts within the field.
- Practicing--actually doing what you are learning. As in the above example of a website designer, you can apply what you have learned by creating websites on your own. By practicing what you learn, you are going much deeper into what it takes to be an expert in that field--working out the kinks, investigating and solving problems not covered through studying and instruction alone.
- Presenting--finding ways to document your findings. Create a blog or journal of the steps you are taking to understand the many facets of your newfound expertise. Write or speak at a conference about the trials and the resolutions so that others can learn from you. Teaching what you have learned to others will push you even further toward your goal of mastering your new field.
The upside is that if you have truly found your passion--your thing--in life, learning and becoming an expert will be fun and exciting. If this is not the case, you have made the wrong choice and you need to go back Step 1.