Every year, throughout your career, you will gain another year of valuable experience. Which means that you will get a little bit smarter every year. This process of steady improvement could go on for 40 or 50 years. The accumulated knowledge makes you more capable and more valuable to your organization. Which leads to more responsibility and more income. Which is good.
The problem is that everyone else who started their career when you did is gaining knowledge and experience at the same pace. So while you are growing as an individual, you are maintaining pace with the cohort who began their careers when you did. Which is like the nuclear arms race. Only without the threat of global destruction and Olympic figure skater subplots.
The Key To A Highly Succesful Career.
The key to a highly successful career is to outpace your peers. This means that instead of gaining 1 year of experience and knowledge in 1 year, you gain 2 years in one. Or 3 years in 1. Heck, why not gain 20 years of experience in just 12 months? That’s what Doogie Howser would do.
How Do You Do This?
To pack multiple years of growth into one year you can’t simply rely on your own experiences. You have to borrow from others. Luckily, there are many ways to absorb mass quantities of knowledge and experience from others in a short time. And none of them involve cannibalism.
1. Books. Books are quite literally the lessons and experiences learned by others, captured and summarized for you. Which means that you can buy 10, 20 or 40 years of knowledge and experience for under $30. Crazy, right? (Do this.)
2. Workshops: Workshops are designed to put you through time-compressed experiences to help you improve your skills at a highly accelerated pace. During a workshop, there are eyes on you to make sure you learn how to perform a task the ideal way. You receive quick and constructive feedback. It’s the kind of feedback that may have taken you years or decades to receive on your own. Especially if you and your Swingline stapler are still stuck in the basement.
3. Coaching: Coaching comes in many forms. From actual career, business or executive coaches. From mentors. From experts who take you under their wings. Coaches feed you their knowledge and experience like a mama bird feeds a baby bird. Which means they are directly regurgitating their knowledge into you. Just not usually by barfing it in your face.
4. Podcasts: Podcasts drop knowledge like an audio college. Podcasts are often great knowledge aggregators that share insights, ideas and experiences from many different perspectives. It’s easy to listen to a podcast while doing something else, like commuting, mowing the lawn, or sitting at your child’s sporting or religious event.
5. Blogs: Blogs are full of smart, informative and actionable tips. They usually come at you fast-paced with dense growth nutrition. Eat that stuff up. If you need a blog to subscribe to I suggest adamalbrecht.blog.
6. Magazines: Magazines that are specific to your industry or role are extremely helpful. The great advantage here is that the knowledge is purposefully fresh and well-polished by a professional staff. There are many different topics covered in every issue which has the potential to add a lot to your knowledge base every month. Pro Tip: Choose magazines where everyone wears clothes.
7. Documentaries: I love watching a film or TV show about a successful person. It’s an easy way to learn what made them successful. Then simply start doing what they did. You just may end up with your own documentary.
To gain the most knowledge and experience in the shortest amount of time, stack multiple knowledge sources. Read books, listen to podcasts, and attend workshops. Or any combination that works best for you. The pace at which you gain knowledge will quickly surpass your peers. It will turn heads. And make you seem like you are smarter and more capable than others in your competitive set. Then you will Usain Bolt past those in front of you. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can overtake others who are gaining one year of experience per year.
Don’t settle for the natural pace of growth and improvement. Accelerate your knowledge, experience and skill acquisition by learning from other people. The accelerated path is available to anyone interested. But far too few people take the opportunity. Be one of those who do. It’s possible to pack a decade of growth into one year. And you will feel yourself pulling away from others. And when you do, make sure to share what you have learned so that others can benefit from you.
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