Climbing to the Top 10 Percent in Your Field
Are you in the Top 10 percent in your industry? Is your company a top ten
company or is it further down in the list? Are you one of the best in your line
of work? When people you work with are looking for answers to their problems,
do they search for you? If they find you, do you help them with their problem
or do you send them off to find someone else?
In most cases the top 10 percent are well rewarded for their abilities. It is
certainly true in sports. But, how do you become a member of that 10 percent
group? What is it they have that you lack? Do they know more? Do they work
harder? Are they more determined? Do they have goals or a better education?
What is it?
Here are my thoughts on the Top 10 percent. In many cases they do know more.
They are more likely to study books in their field of interest. If they are in
finance they are probably reading the Wall Street Journal and other financial
books. They are studying the companies they want to buy. They are asking
questions of people that will know the answers, not just their companions.
You Have to Know More
I am a computer programmer by trade. There is always something new to learn in
this industry. Every three years Microsoft comes out with a new IDE for Visual
Studio. They just released Visual Studio 2008. The leaders in the field have
picked up their copy and are beginning to analyze the changes, upgrades and new
FCL. They are testing with little programs to know how each new artifact works.
Other programmers are reading trade articles on programming techniques,
architecture and best practices. To be a top programmer you must continually be
improving your skillset. If you don't you won't be a member of the top 10
percent. You have to continually take classes and get certified in new
technologies and software.
But, every field is like that. You might tell me that you don't remember
details as well as those other people. You have to work harder at capturing the
data. Then do it. My wife and I are completely different. I can read a book
fairly rapidly. Then for about a week or two I will be fairly conversant on the
topics in the book. But, then by the end of the month, my memory of the subject
matter begins to lag.
Now my wife, Mary, she takes a while to absorb the information. She has to ask
questions. She mulls about it for little bit. She trys it out in different
ways. She will have to read chapters 3 times to really understand the material.
When she finally masters the book, then she seems to never forget it. The first
two weeks I am her resource. Then for the next 5 years she is my resource.
It doesn't matter what your specialty is. You need more information than the
next person on the totem pole. You have to take the time to learn more. When
you may ask? I don't have time. Then make time. Tomorrow, wake up an hour early
and start reading. Don't put it off until you have more time. You will never
have time. There is always something requiring your attention. There are the
bills to be paid. There is dust on the coffee tables.
Imagine what you would know if you were to spend an hour a day studying in your
field. Would you know more? Do you think you would make better decisions? Would
it take you less time to solve problems? Yes, Yes and Yes. It is easy. You Can
Become More Determined
When you are reaching for your goals and trying to be a top ten achiever do you
ever give up? Do you try for a little while and then get distracted by another
shiny bling or the cool idea of the month? How can you become more determined?
You become more determined by having goals. When you wake up every morning and
see your goal for the month staring at you, then you are less distracted. You
want to pick up the newspaper and hide behind today's gossip. You see that
nagging goal hanging next to your computer is tugging on your shirt sleeve. Hey
let's get to work. You don't have time for that today. Or at least wait until
you finish writing your blog. Do you want more traffic? Is traffic to your
website going to come racing from the sports pages?
It is much easier to stay focused when you have something you are reaching for
in your life. I always exercise more when I have a race coming up in the near
future or I have a desire to lose weight for a vacation trip or cruise. The
same thing with business goals. That goal will focus your attention on doing
the needed tasks at hand.
How many times a week are the top bloggers writing? Daily? Then you need to
write daily. Are there articles crappy or full of researched goodness? They are
well researched and full of relevant information. That is what your articles
need. If you want to win the race you have to run with the big boys.
The next important trait of the top ten percent is the trait of excellence.
They pay attention to the details. They test before the page is submitted to
the blog. They review their copy and check their grammar. They review the
content to make sure the article makes sense. Have you ever typed for an hour
with your best work flowing from your brain into the computer effortlessly?
Then taken a break. When the break is over you read your article and say
"YUCK". None of this even makes sense.
Many people can type into their computer the perfect words. I think the author
Issac Asimov could finish a short story that was in perfect saleable condition
over night. But, the rest of us need to write. Rest. Then re-read and then
re-write. It does not flow perfectly onto our virtual page. And that's okay.
You don't have to be perfect on the first draft.
You do however have to proof your work and go back and rework sentences,
comments, grammar and even the words you use. Get a book known as a Flip
Dictionary. It will allow you to use words in new ways and to get your meaning
across with less words. Check your spelling, and check the details of your
articles. Do the links even work?
Make Time to Recharge Your Batteries
You have to stay fresh. You can't spend that much time on details and not be
worn out. Once a week take a break. If you can't break for the whole day, try
for 3 hours. Sometimes a quiet hour by yourself or with a loved one is enough
to get you through another week of excellence.
There you have it. Your 4 keys to take you to the top of your industry. How
many of you will say, "that was a nice article?" Instead I encourage you to
shake the old ways off your body and take action. I made a comment on a
previous article in response to what someone else said.
Imagine there is a room full of treasure. The door is locked. If I hand you the
key then you can unlock the door and capture the treasure for yourself. But, if
you just stand there with the key in your pocket. Or, you have the key but you
have to read the newspaper. Or, you place the key in the desk drawer because
you don't won't to lose the key. None of those things will help you grab the
treasure for yourself. Only action can win you the goal.
I encourage you to take action. Become a part of the top ten percent. The
rewards are outstanding.