To create more opportunities first become great at what you do best.

Friday night my family and I had dinner in Las Vegas. It was the last night of our southwestern adventure, and we didn’t really plan our last meal. At least not the way Jesus did.

Through a strange confluence of forces, including a rare desert thunderstorm that created flash floods in Vegas, we ended up eating at Buddy V’s Ristorante. I realized once we reached the restaurant that it was named after Buddy Valastro.

Shortly after we sat down to eat I spotted Buddy V himself walking into the restaurant. A few minutes later Buddy stopped by our table to say hi, check on our experience, and thank us for coming to the restaurant that night. (I refrained from saying that I loved him in Elf.)

Buddy then greeted the table next to us. The family at that table asked if they could take a picture with Buddy. Which tipped off our kids that this guy was a celebrity. So they asked us why he was famous.

Dawn and I explained that Buddy V owned Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey. (Fun Fact: Dawn lived in Hoboken right after graduating from college as she worked at Lifetime, Television For Women, in New York City.)

We told our kids that Buddy was so good at making cakes that he got his own show on TLC called Cake Boss. He has now starred on 5 other TV shows. He owns 18 bakeries. And he is currently launching other restaurants.

After explaining this to our kids, I said that the real lesson from Buddy V was that if you want to create a lot of opportunities for yourself you should first become really great at something. And that something could be anything.

Buddy V was so good at making cakes that the world took notice and wanted to see and know more about him and his work. His personality made him interesting to a broad crowd and the opportunities just keep coming.

But it all started because he became great at his craft.

And maybe because he has a sweet accent.

Key Takeaway

Become really great at what you do. Expertise opens doors to new opportunities. It offers you career capital. Which leads to social capital. And financial capital. Keep practicing and improving your skills and you will become sought after. And when you are sought after everything changes.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best lessons I have learned from the universe, check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

How to know where you are on your improvement journey.

Anytime you try something new you will be bad at it. Or at least relatively bad at it. And I don’t mean like Michael Jackson or George Thorogood.

But when you are trying to develop your skills and abilities there is a useful way to think about your improvement journey.

Simply focus on increasing the percentage of times you get it right.

At first, you may get a specific technique or execution right 1 in 1000 or 1 in 100 tries.

This means that you’ve moved your percentage from 0% to 0.1%, or from 0% to 1%.

That’s amazing progress.

In fact, it is the most important progress of all.

Then just keep going.

At 2% you are 100% better than you were at 1%. Or at least that was true according to old math.

Now, focus your efforts to increase your success rate from 1 in 100 to 1 in 10. 

Then advance to 5 in 10.

Next push yourself to 9 out of 10. Like the dentists who recommend Crest toothpaste.

Then keep pushing yourself until you can nail 99 out of 100 attempts.

Key Takeaway

Self-improvement is a percentage game. You’ll likely never get every task right 100% of the time. But get as close as you can. Pay attention to your performance percentages. It is the easiest way to track your progress. Keep pushing yourself. The challenge is fun, rewarding, and most importantly, quantifiable.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more tips and techniques for your self-improvement journey check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.