There is an old adage among people who shoot a bow and arrows for sport. The center of every target is exactly the same size. Once you realize this, there is no need to get real fancy about your shooting style or worry over the type of arrows you use. The center of your target will always be your target.
Is it any different when learning a new skill? If you are trying to pick up a new skill, master a new technique, get a different job, start a new business or improve an old business chances are you will have to pick up some new skills. Or, improve on some old ones.
No one should be expected to shoot expertly if handed a bow and arrows for the first time then pointed in the direction of a target. Yet, so many set out to write their first book, start a new business or develop a new idea based on passion alone. Passion is certainly a requirement for success. But, having passion alone is not enough preparation.
It does not matter what new skill your are trying to acquire. If you are targeting a new skill and you have a desire for excellence, then proficiency becomes the center of your target.
I am certainly not suggesting everyone become an expert in their area of interest before beginning to reach for their goals. I am suggesting that acquiring needed skills to reach ones goals is part of the journey. It is a necessary part of the march toward excellence.
To become proficient at a new skill, just like target shooting, there are some fundamental requirements.
- A thorough knowledge base. You might either augment existing knowledge by filling in any gaps or may be you need to start from scratch. Learn as much as possible up front but never stop learning. There is no finish line for learning.
- The right tools. Name any skill and there will always be tools or some type of equipment involved. Make sure you have whatever may be required on hand.
- Practice, practice, practice the new skill. There is no other way to become proficient in learning a new skill. Repetition is your biggest ally.
- Adjust as you go. If you keep missing the target of proficiency then you are probably doing the same thing over and over which is giving you unintended results. Try a new approach, adjust and try again.
- Ask for help. If you get stuck, go to the experts of the skill you are attempting to master. Ask questions. Get a mentor or become an apprentice if need be.
Acquiring new and needed skills is part of the growth process and an essential part of mastery. Target proficiency, success will follow.
Do you possess the skills you need to achieve your goals?