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How to Master a New Skill

https://hbr.org/2012/11/how-to-master-a-new-skill

hbr.org

How to Master a New Skill
We all want to be better at something. After all, self-improvement is necessary to getting ahead at work. But once you know what you want to be better at - be it public speaking, using social media, or analyzing data - how do you start?

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Heidi Grant Halvorson

"In a fast-moving, competitive world, being able to learn new skills is one of the keys to success. It’s not enough to be smart — you need to always be getting smarter."

Heidi Grant Halvorson

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Check your readiness

Learning a new skill takes commitment. And there are certain limits to what you can learn. So, before starting working on a new skill, ask yourself:

  • If your goal really is attainable
  • How much time and energy you can give to this process.

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Make sure it’s needed

Make sure the skills you've chosen are relevant to your career, your organization, or both. 

Gaining a new skill is an investment and you need to know upfront what the return will be.

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Know how you learn best

You can find out your ideal learning style by looking back: review your past learning experiences and make a list of the good ones and another list of bad ones, in order to see the elements they had in common.

By doing this, you'll be able to define the learning environment that works for you.

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Get the right support

Find and approach someone you trust who has mastered the skill you’re trying to attain. This will greatly increase your learning.

If you can’t find a mentor inside your company, look for people in your industry or from your network

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Start small and reflect

Choose one or two skills to focus on at a time, and break them down into manageable goals. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Also, take the time to reflect on what you're learning. Thinking and talking about your progress will help you get valuable feedback and will keep you accountable.

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Teach it to others

One of the quickest ways to learn something new, and to practice it, is to teach others how to do it. 

So share what you learn with your team, your manager, or your co-workers. 

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“We need to constantly look for opportunities to stretch ourselves in ways that may not always feel comfortable at first. Continual improvement is necessary to get ahead.”

Joseph Weintraub

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Habits or Skills

Decide whether what you're trying to improve is mostly a habit or mostly a skill: if your main problem is with doing something you already know how to do, but doing it consistently, that’s pro...

Improving a habit

This process has 3 main parts: 

  • Define the habit you want to form clearly and consistently;
  • Condition it until it is relatively easy to maintain. 
  • Maintain the habit by monitoring it. If you slip, push to reassert the habit quickly.

Improving skills

The best strategy for getting better at skills is deliberate practice. A good way to work on this is to divide it into 3: 

  • Practice the skill. 
  • Get timely feedback on how well you’re performing.
  • Focus on your weak points with selective drills and constrained practice.

Changing careers

You and you alone are responsible for creating your own future. 

Time to give serious thought to this life-shaping question: What exactly are you going to do with the rest of your li...

Start with honest self-assessment

  • Analyze your current skill set, training level, and accomplishments to date. 
  • Write down the aspects of the work you liked and what tasks or things you disliked
  • Explore different career options. Investigate new fields, industries and potential careers. 
  • Interview individuals who work at those types of jobs, or in fields of interest to you. 
  • Look at growth opportunities, salaries, benefits, education level and then determine the job title to target.

Change from careers

  • Use your transferable skills. You have acquired abilities from previous positions.
  • Use your strengths. Incorporate your talents into any position you choose to go after.
  • Get new skills. Study the industry you want to enter. Take some courses so you can more quickly enter the field.
  • Many people prevent their own success. They find excuses, or blame others, for their own failures or mistakes instead of learning and improving from them.

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Motivation

Motivation

Motivation is not a switch. Motivation is a flow. 

If you can create a self sustaining motivation engine, you’ll not only be able to find more meaning and purpose in your life, bu...

Motivation Engine in 3 parts

  1. Core. Your purpose. It is sustained by two things: Having Meaning, and Forward Movement.
  2. Support. What enables your goals. They can magnify the motivation core you have, or speed up the momentum that you build.
  3. Surface. Any type of external recognition that might give you motivation.