It’s one thing to be at a job but it’s another thing to be the best at what you do. The first rule is to love what you do and be very passionate about it. To be the best at what you do makes you a professional; no matter how insignificant it may seem.
The “Professional” possesses distinctive qualifications, skills and knowledge about a subject matter. He/she is an authority, qualified to teach apprentices and transfer such knowledge. They have spent a significant amount of hours investing in their trade or their field. A professor once said it takes 10,000 hours of continuous investment & learning in a subject matter to become an expert in it. He believes that by reason of continuous interactions, learning and improvements in a thing, one becomes an expert in it.
As a professional in your chosen career, are you continuously improving yourself and the quality of your deliverables?
In the field of sports for example, your level of expertise determines your influence and your earning capacity. It determines the flow of opportunity that comes one’s way.
Why do clubs pay so much to a footballer?
Why do corporate organizations pay so much money for endorsements?
Why are people interested in watching a particular artiste or entertainer?
It’s the skills and expertise that people pay for; not the talent. Talent and skill are not the same; one is raw, the other is polished. We all enter the corporate world raw but across the years, we acquire more skills & knowledge about our chosen field.
This brings to mind the story of a young man’s encounter with a taxi driver in the UK. He was late for his flight, so he asked the taxi man for the shortest route to the airport. He said the man switched off both the metering & navigation system, he knew the entire short cuts to avoid long traffic jams. He said the taxi got there in record time and saved him some precious 30 minutes. At the end of the journey, he said he was so impressed that he handed him £50 without negotiating anything.
By every analysis, this taxi driver is a professional at what he does. Continuous learning strengthens our skills and empowers us. It confers on us an edge and advantage over others. Every job that carries real value requires some level of expertise & satisfactory delivery.
So, our value increases in the marketplace as we gather more knowledge and skills in our chosen field. Wealth flows naturally in the direction of applied knowledge whatever job is worth doing at all, deserves your very best. Even scriptures affirm that a diligent professional will stand before people of means & substance (paraphrased). Your level of skills & knowledge can even earn you a recognized position in that field as an “Expatriate”.
So don’t work at a job for survival, be the expert in it. Let your knowledge & skill speak for you. Become a life-long learner. Get updates on new and relevant information. Read books and other materials that give you better verbal power & professional “slangs”. Relate with your industry leaders and mentors and other professional colleagues. Document your progress & build a journal of your adventure. Be a team player, overcome your prejudice, sentiments & esteem issues or else, it may ruin your opportunities.
Along with your expertise, deliver with excellence & carry a measure of “finesse”. Till we meet again next week, remember, be an authority in your field and influence people to do exploits.