Do you ever wonder why some people seem to get all the opportunities; while life seem to always give you the short end of the stick? Well, the reason is because they have perfected their craft. They have become experts at what they do.
Experts do not hunt, they get hunted. Everybody wants a piece of their mind. They give keynote addresses. They are sought after as coaches and mentors. And they are paid top dollar.
When you become an expert, the world suddenly opens up to you.
The world today has no room for novices; those who make half-hearted attempts at excellence.
To be an expert in any field, you must be prepared to become extremely good at your craft. And it does not come easy; it takes hard work, dedication, and time.
I have identified a few things you can do to become an expert. The list is not exhaustive; but it provides a sure-fire way of helping you become an expert.
- Discover Your Purpose
The first thing you must get right on your journey to become an expert is to identify your purpose. What is it that you were created for? What on earth are you here for? What is your life calling? If you can honestly and accurately answer these questions, then you will have discovered your purpose.
The second worst thing to not living out your purpose is get off on the wrong purpose and expend all your energy, resources and time in it; only to realize at the end of it all that you took the wrong turn. The journey to becoming an expert starts with accurately discovering your purpose.
Once you discover your purpose, you must believe that it’s your purpose. You must be completely convinced; otherwise you will keep looking over your shoulder, and listening to other people’s opinions of what else you could have been; or what you should be doing.
- You must have passion
If you are not passionate about what you feel you are called to be and do, then your journey to becoming an expert will be a very difficult one.
Passion is the fuel that drives you along the journey to becoming an expert. Without it, you will huff and puff as your destiny vehicle lumbers on; emitting dark clouds of smoke until it comes to an unceremonious halt. Ok, that was a bit dramatic!
If people cannot see enthusiasm oozing out of you, they will be less likely to believe you, leave alone support you. A person passionately pursuing their dream is a person on fire; spreading the infectious flames of passion wherever they go; and leaving everyone and everything in their wake enthralled and awed by the fire in their belly.
People are more inclined to believe and support a man or a woman who exudes an unmatched confidence in their craft. They will sometimes make decisions not necessary based on logic, but on the fact that they have been passionately and persuasively convinced to a point where they can go to the moon and back for you.
It is passion that will keep you awake at night. It is passion that will force you to work even when your body is screaming for you to stop. It is passion that is going to make your face light up whenever you start talking about your craft. It is passion that is going to push you one more step even when results are not coming as quickly as you had hoped. And it is passion that will keep you from quitting.
- You must be committed
The place of commitment is where the rubber meets the road. This is where some destinies are unfurled while others are aborted.
Most people fail in their journey towards becoming an expert simply because they lack the commitment to do whatever it takes to succeed.
Nothing says “am all in” better than effort applied consistently, tenaciously, in and out of season; whether you feel like it or not.
The unwavering dedication to a cause is what determines whether we succeed or fail. Without commitment, all our desires and aspirations will forever remain in the realm of dreams.
For dreams to be realized, one must be willing to do whatever it takes, day after day, to make those dreams come true. Anything short of such unwavering, unflinching commitment is a sure recipe for failure.
- You must be focused
Whatever you focus on expands. To become a sought-after expert, everything you do, think or say must be funneled into the narrow tunnel of focus. Your thoughts, your words and your actions must all be laser guided towards the direction of your purpose.
Any deviation, obstruction or distraction from your purpose will only succeed in taking you away from your life path – your purpose.
Your ability to stay focused in the face of too many interests will determine how quickly you get to your goals.
- You must be disciplined
When it comes to discipline, you must be regimental. Just like troops are divided into various regiments in the battlefield, likewise you must be disciplined in the way you spend your time; with whom you spend it; and what you spend it doing.
Make up your mind to discipline yourself to stay the cause of your dreams. A soldier in the battlefield is not distracted by the sounds of bombs and guns. When the order comes to “forward match”, a disciplined soldier keeps going forward, claiming one enemy territory after another until the battle is won.
Don’t let up. Don’t slow down. Don’t stop until the battle is won.
- You must set goals
The journey to becoming an expert is littered with many milestones. If you don’t set goals, you will not know if and when these milestones are reached.
Goals help us to stay focused. They are like signposts; as long as you see them along your journey, then you know you are headed in the right direction.
There will be a lot of obstacles along the journey to becoming an expert. However, when we set SMART goals, we avoid that scary feeling that we are working too hard with very little impact.
According to Peter Drucker, for goals to be effective, they must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound.
If you have not yet developed the habit of setting goals, it’s time you do; and you can get more help from an article I wrote of setting goals at http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/articles/inspiration/006379.html.
- You must Practice
There is a principle, which was espoused by Malcolm Gladwell that for one to became an expert in any field they need to accumulate 10,000 hours of practice.
While the above theory has been challenged by some scholars, the importance of working hard to perfect your craft cannot be gainsaid.
The old adage that “practice makes perfect” still holds true. You become better at what you practice most of the time.
The more we practice what we are good at, the better we become. And the better we become at fulfilling our mandate in life, the easier it gets for us to do what we love doing most.
It’s ironic that when it’s harder for us to perform a particular task, we get paid less; if we get paid at all. But when we become so good at a craft that it’s almost effortless for us to accomplish it, the world suddenly falls at our feet, begging for our services, and pledging to pay top dollar for it.
- You must network
There is an old African proverb that says: If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
To become an expert in your craft, you would want to not only go quickly, but go quickly together. You cannot become an expert in any craft by depending only on what you can do. You need to leverage the power of working with others; some of them experts who have excelled in their craft.
However good you may think you are at any trade; there is always another person who is better than you in one area or the other.
Your journey towards excellence must therefore borrow from the experiences and knowledge of others who have gone before you; and you must proactively seek out these people and let them know that their input to your current experience and body of knowledge is invaluable to you.
- You must read
This may sound like a no-brainer; but you will be surprised at how many people stopped reading after their last exam in college.
Learning is a life-long process; and like old wine, we become better as we learn more. There is a whole body of knowledge out there; and most of it is free, thanks to the Internet.
If you are not reading around your craft, you are decaying.
With fast and furious technological advances, knowledge has become very transient. What you know today could very well be rendered obsolete tomorrow. We need to therefore keep ourselves upbraided on new knowledge and advancements in our craft so that we don’t become redundant.
- You must be patient
This last point is very important. Good things come to those who wait. As long as you are sure that you have done all you can to become an expert, be patient. The world will soon take notice of you
It is said that Steve Jobs used to push the designers at Apple to come up with products for the future; products that users didn’t even know they will need. Rather than respond to customer demands and needs, he decided to create that need in the expectation that future users will agree with him.
Once you become an expert, you must understand that the world may take time to see things your way, but, like Steve Jobs, you must be patient since your craft may have transcended the present time.
Sometimes things may not work out as quickly as you want them to, but once your craft comes into alignment with the universe, there will be an explosion of opportunities for you. Patience is therefore a virtue that you need to cultivate as you work on your craft.