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Collin Harness


10 Things I Am Doing To Become A Master In My Field

I am far from a master. I am probably above average in my current position. A lot of my knowledge has been gained from working in the same field for years. Right now I am one of the most tenure people at my company. I have a lot of legacy knowledge. This may or may not be a good thing. I have a lot of knowledge from my current projects, but maybe I am not pushing myself to take on larger projects.

I am currently working on pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

I have done this before. I worked for Starbucks with no previous experience in food, beverage etc.

I worked for Apple as a technician when I my only product from that company was an iPod. Who is going to buy a $400 phone? Many, many people.

There are a few things I have learned from being in different positions. Having to learn new skills from zero.

    1. The fear does not go away, but you can overcome it

    Everyday before my shift at Apple I would have to pump myself up in order to go out on the floor and help people. You have to help a lot of people in that role. That was really difficult for an introvert like myself. Everyday I felt that fear, but everyday I survived and everyday I overcame that fear and went out there and tried to learn more information.

    I did that job until I found a better opportunity.

    2. Think and Grow Rich

    It is an old book. It was originally published in 1937 by Napolean Hill. Everyone should read or at least understand the concepts of this book.

    Basically, the world around us was created by people just like us. And everything that they accomplished started with an idea. This is why ideas so important. Why it is important to keep creating ideas.

    You must be able to image a future that does not yet exist.

    I can see myself working on really large project. Managing lots of different people, even teams.

    I can see myself giving a talk about my career experience in front of other people in my field.

    But none of this has happened yet.

    Every year thousands of people go to medical school and see themselves one day become a doctor, but it will take them years if not decades to actually see patients in a professional capacity.

    It is not enough to just imagine that you are going to be a doctor. You have to actually put in the work. You have to make your dream a reality. That means overcoming obstacles. Overcoming people. There will be a lot of people that will try to break you. Difficult clients. People that will say bad things about you and your work. But you just overcome them and keep moving to the next customer and project.

    Also, you might see yourself as a doctor and then end up becoming a researcher. Just because you have an image in your mind does not mean it is concrete. You need to think big because you the reality of your dream may not be what you imaged. The Universe might also give you something better than you thought you wanted, but not if you aimed in a different direction.

    3. Practice your craft

    Masters are always practicing. Athletes are constantly practicing. They are developing that muscle memory. They are creating habits of success.

    Runners do not show up one day of the blue and hit world records. They practice for years.

    The same is true for you and me. You need to always be practicing, working on improving just a little bit each and everyday.

    4. Learn from other peers and experts

    Great coaches are just as good as great athletes. And they are just as rare.

    Find other people that trying to succeed in the same area that you are.

    Schwartzennger and Stallone.

    Kobe and Shaq.

    A-Rod and Jeter.

    Woods and Mickelson.

    You are in a tribe. You just might not know if. There are a lot of Starbucks Barista's around the country and they are definitely not created equal.

    You don't have to love your coach. They are not there to be your friend or your family. They are there to push you, challenge you, make you a better athlete.

    5. Keep educating yourself

    Right now I am taking a project management course through Coursera. It is really good. There is a lot of great information in this course. And I think after I do this one I am going to take another one that looks interesting.

    It is not required for any degree. It is not necessary for my current job. But I know that it will make me better. That this information will give me an edge over other people.

    Never stop learning.

    There are always new challenges to overcome.

    Why did Elon try to buy Twitter?

    Because he obsessed with learning. He wanted a new challenge and he knew that by owning Twitter he would learn so much about it.

    The people that are the best at their craft have an encylopedic knowledge of that topic. If you keep studying your craft you will keep learning information that will improve your performance.

    6. Take bigger risks

    You are probably not thinking big enough.

    I have totally been in that spot.

    When my boyfriend broke up with me I was also broke. My goal was simply to not be broke. To be able to rent an apartment and not worry that I was not going to have enough money to pay the rent. Buying a real estate property was not on my radar. It was completely outside of possibility.

    A few years later I started looking around my neighborhood and then the city. And I found this piece of land down the street from an elementary school. It was priced low. Every single person I talked to told me not to do it.

    But I did not have much to lose. I was not even close to being able to afford a house. And this was a vacant residential lot. I could save up money and build an nice affordable house if I acutally owned the property. Otherwise I would have to buy a dumpy property and fix it up or have someone else fix it.

    I bought it and it has been one of the best investments I have ever made. The neighorhood looks completely different and so does not property value.

    If you are always going to have that sense of fear when starting a new job or project, why not push yourself to take on bigger roles and projects?

    If you does succeed you will at least learn a ton of information.

    You can always do something else if your risk does not work out.

    But then what if it does and just leveled up way past other people?

    7. Document the process

    Everything has a process.

    There is a process for making the perfect Starbucks drink. Building an electric car. Starting and finishing a college degree.

    Knowing that process is valuable. That is how restraurant chains go global. Walmart goes global.

    What works for one person will work for many people. People are different, but not that different.

    Once you know the process inside and out you can teach someone else that process and make money from teaching. Walking some through the process makes you the expert. You start to define the rules.

    8. Create your car wash

    One time I got in trouble working for Apple. At the time, Apple was always trying to tweak the customer service process. How can we make the process better? Happier customers? Faster service? See more people.

    They had a process. And I was great at the process. I was always one of the top performers. But then they tried to change the process. Instead of helping people one on one they wanted the employees to help several people at once. I was not good at that. It would take me twice as long to start with one person, get it going, and then start with another person. It kind of became a big mess.

    I went back to my original process that worked for me. And I went back to being a top performer. But that was also against the process. My boss called me out on it. He would rather have everyone doing the 'process' even if it meant sacrificing efficiency.

    Did I start following the 'correct' process. No.

    I created my own process that was a hybrid. But I made sure that my manager knew that I was incorporating his feedback into my work.

    One process does not fit all.

    Create your own car wash. Something that works for you and that you can improve upon.

    9. Get more people to use your product

    Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer, because everyone knows Tiger Woods. His games are watched by the most eyeballs.

    The more people that you can service, the more of an expert that you will become.

    You will get more feedback.

    More people = more marketing.

    The more people you can help the more revenue you should receive which will compound your revenue and your skills. The more resources you have the more tools you have to become a master.

    10. Get paid

    This has always been a tough one for me. Your work should speak for itself, but it doesn't. You have to make your work speak. I have been in several arguments with managers about being paid what I am worth. They always start out by saying no.

    But you have to do it. Masters are well paid.

    Michael Jordan is a billionaire.

    Doctors, lawyers, plumbers. They are all well paid, because they have specialized skills.

    Income is like education. It is never finised. You are always going to need money to pay the utility bill.

    You should also always be working on leveling up your pay. Increase your skills and demonstrate those skills. Document the process and then ask for that raise. If your current employer does not recognize it, start your own business or find a business that does need your talent.

    I am still working on it.

    But I am comitted to becoming a master and will continue to work on it.

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