By Julie Wright, (W)right On Communications, Inc.
It’s what every bright up and comer wants to know. How do I become an expert?
What’s the straightest line to the top? What blogs do I need to follow? What technologies do I need to use? Are there short cuts?
If you aspire to be an expert in PR, there is one thing you need to know and to do.
The answer to becoming an expert transcends conventional wisdom or insider scoop because it is backed by scientific research.
Social scientists have studied this question because it is an important one and has significant implications. In fact, in demanding, complex jobs like
PR—particularly in an agency environment—research has shown that the top 10% produce 80% more than the average. Even in low complexity jobs, the top 10% produce 25% more than the average.
So researchers isolated and removed all variables – how much people practiced, worked, studied, networked, got lucky, etc. — to identify the single factor that most correlated with becoming a top performer.
But before I tell you what it is, I’ll tell you that it’s entirely within your control. It is an internal factor. And it’s not talent.
J.K. Rowling was once jobless, living on welfare and deeply depressed. She was also rejected countless times by publishing houses for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Now she’s a billionaire and one of the world’s best-known authors.
Rowling worked through her setbacks and spent five years penning her first Harry Potter book and never gave up on finding a publisher. She was going to be an author.
Michael Jordan didn’t make the varsity team when he tried out as a sophomore. But he went on to be one of the best basketball players of our time.
Jordan famously said “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” Clearly, when he thought about his future, it was as the best basketball player he could be.
So, here’s the answer to the question “How do I become an expert?”
It’s your commitment.
Ask yourself “How long do I plan to do this?”
If the answer is “for a couple of years,” “until I start a family” or “I’m not sure;” you can still do well but it’s unlikely that you’ll get to the top of your game. If you answered that question with “forever,” “this is my life’s work” or “until I’m the CEO;” you are on your way to a level of achievement few attain.
If you don’t believe me, read more here in my favorite weekly blog, Barking up the Wrong Tree, by Eric Barker. It is worth subscribing to as it is always filled with wisdom backed by social science—or as Eric explains “science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life.”
Barker’s post on how to become an expert includes seven other tips. Well worth the read if that is a goal of yours.
Julie Wright is President and Founder of (W)right On Communications, Inc. Lear more about Julie here. Twitter: @JulieWright