Mastering a skill is important for every individual. It opens doors, builds relationships, and establishes credibility.
The thing is, mastering a skill is no simple feat. It requires one to constantly create and practice and learn to achieve. It requires a concrete commitment.
That being the case, it’s necessary to pick the right skills because such choices will resonate throughout your career. How do you make that decision?
To be honest, we are spoiled with choice in terms of what we could learn and choose to master. The options are endless, almost to the point where it becomes overwhelming. We could go in a million different directions (one of my favorite TED Talks explores this idea).
Fortunately, there’s a simple two step process to help you make this decision.
1. Pay Attention
Pay attention. Look at how you spend your time. Observe what you love doing, as well as what you find easy to do. The things that you’re a natural at point towards a proficiency that isn’t common in everyone else.
Compile a list of these skills. This is the first step.
2. Find What’s Hard
Not for yourself, but for others. Of those things that you enjoy and have a knack for, there are bound to be a few that others find difficult, if not impossible.
These areas are the perfect place to spend your time because it fulfills two key traits. You’re good at and its not easily done by others. That means that you’ll have a clear advantage over the field, but still enjoy what you’re doing.
This may not always be possible, but if you do find something that ticks these boxes, you’ll be much better situated. Combining these two is how you discover a niche that you can operate in.
Mastering this type of skill will open up amply opportunities for you in the future.
The bridge between knowledge and skill is practice. The bridge between skill and mastery is time.Jim Bouchard
Once you’ve got a good idea of where to focus, comes the hard part. Striving for mastery. I could go into the details of what that would take, but it comes down to a simple idea: immerse yourself in that skill.
That means learn, create, practice, and share constantly. The best way of learning is doing, so do as much as you can.
The more you live in that space, the closer you’ll inch towards mastery and achieving a level of ability that is valuable to others.
As they say, be so good they can’t ignore you. It takes time and it’s far from easy, but it’s the most direct method to set yourself up for success.
Image via flickr