Become an expert, it sounds simple, but let me show you the tricks of success.
One night Darren jumped out of an aeroplane and his parachute failed to open properly. When he hit the ground his left ankle shattered beyond repair. His promising army career was over.
It was the start of a great success story.
Choose Who You Want To Work For
When he left the army IBM and HP both offered Darren a job.
He turned them both down. He thought that career advancement and earnings growth would be too slow in large corporations. He also felt that there was too much hierarchical, slow thinking when so many people were involved in decision making.
Instead, he went to work for a small, but highly successful commodity broking company.
Learn From Your Boss
For the first two months in his new job Darren just studied the senior partners.
Then he approached the most successful partner and said, “Please will you take me on as your apprentice? I will do anything you ask to the best of my ability. In return, I would like you to teach me how to do what you do so well.”
The senior partner asked him to write a report on Sugar Production in Brazil.
Discover What You Love To Do
As he researched and wrote the report Darren discovered that he loved knowing facts and figures about production methods.
As he became immersed in the subject of sugar production he discovered other things that he loved. He enjoyed studying the weather conditions that affected crop yields. He was interested in all the forces that caused markets to move.
He looked so happy and enjoyed the work so much that the senior partner sent him to Brazil for 6 months to study the market first hand.
Get to Know The Movers and Shakers
Whilst touring sugar estates and markets in Brazil Darren started to build a network of useful contacts.
He discovered that being sociable was the best way to get inside information. He soon realised that the more people he got to know the more useful information he accumulated. It’s the same in any job of course but most people don’t bother to build strong contact networks.
By the time he got back to head office Darren not only possessed a nice tan, he was also on first name terms with many of the largest producers in Brazil
Expand Your Network
Darren had realised the power of possessing a strong network of industry contacts.
From then on he never stopped adding to the names in his little black book. He cultivated contacts in nightclubs late into the night. He travelled whenever he got the chance. And wherever he went he made sure he met people of influence. He also made sure to help others whenever he could. He realised the importance of both depth and breadth in his network. So he went out of his way to be liked by all. It took several years but eventually, he established a large network feeding him with up-to-date and accurate information.
He became the company’s “go-to man” for information about market trends
Make Friends With Your Boss
The more accurate and reliable reports Darren submitted to his boss the more his boss trusted and relied on Darren.
His boss became his sponsor, his mentor and his friend. Increasingly they helped each other. It was a relationship that benefitted both parties.
They grew and prospered together.
The First Principle That Underlies This Career Success Strategy
You have to enjoy learning.
You will only ever enjoy learning if you are in love with the subject about which you are learning. It takes hard work to accumulate sufficient knowledge to reach the level where you are considered an expert. You will only put in the hard hours if you are really interested both intellectually and emotionally in what you are doing.
Successful people commit themselves to being life-long learners about their chosen subject.
The Second Principle That Underlies This Career Success Strategy
You have to practice using your knowledge to achieve a specific end.
All of the knowledge that Darren accumulated would not have had value had he not been able to use it to make successful trades in the sugar market. Knowledge does not, of itself, endow you with power. It is the use you make of knowledge that gives you power.
A student who emerges from university with a degree knows a lot. But they have little value in the market until they learn to use their knowledge.
Successful people are the ones who accumulate knowledge and know-how to use that knowledge to achieve results.
Your Value as an Expert Depends on Your Reputation
You have little value if no one knows about what you know.
This is why professors publish papers, author books and appear on TV. They want to be widely known as experts in their field. To a large extent, the return on their investment in accumulating knowledge depends on their reputation. The better known you are the more you are likely to earn.
I will talk more in the next article about how to build a strong reputation.
How to Decide on Your Area of Expertise.
You will only put in the hard miles to become an expert if you really enjoy what you are doing.
Pay attention to the times when you are happy and deeply engaged in what you are doing. Notice what it is about the way that you do something that makes it so engaging for you. Notice the things that you repeatedly do without seeming effort. Notice when other people comment on the quality of your work. Notice when you want to give other people advice as if you are an expert.
These are the signs that you have found an area in which you should become an expert. The door to career security and high earnings are now opening for you.