How can I become who I want to be in the next six months? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Alan Morrison, Senior Research Fellow at PricewaterhouseCoopers, on Quora:

Do I have to state the obvious and say you won't be who you want to be in six months? Be patient and methodical. Develop your strategy.

There's a career life cycle you may not be fully aware of yet that's implicit in this sequence of actions you can take:

  1. Stop beating yourself up. There will be things you bring to the table that no one else around you does. Give yourself time and enough credit. You've gotten this far, which is further than many at your age. Many, many people are still finding themselves in their 20s, if not 30s, 40s, or 50s. You're hardly alone.
  2. Find a niche and a mentor or two to help you in that niche. Established companies have people with decades of experience. Some of these folks will be in mentoring/teaching mode because that's their calling, and it's their time of life to mentor. The established company you choose doesn't have to be a big one.
  3. Find your passion within that niche. Leadership hinges on two things: passion and experience. If you don't care much for where you are in the niche, find another position. Build on your passion.
  4. Give yourself time to gain mastery of a discipline. Once you've gained mastery and experience, you may have to change companies. The place(s) you've done your apprenticeship likely won't be the place(s) you can become a leader.
  5. Build your network. Once you've gained mastery, you'll need to raise awareness of how you can contribute. Networking online and at conferences helps you optimize your potential, expand your horizons, and find others to collaborate with.
  6. Make your main contributions. Make what you've learned pay off, not just in terms of money, but in terms of impact. Reap what you've sown. Realize the benefits, which will accrue mainly to the community you're in. The main payoff is impact, making things around you better.
  7. Bring others along after you. At this point, you'll need to pay it back. You may be in your 50s or 60s at this stage.

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Published on: May 25, 2016