How to Develop New Skills and Improve Your Business 2018

This post is about how you might develop new skills more quickly.  It's based on The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything Fast by Josh Kaufman.

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Skill Building

In the book, Josh talks about the flip side of the “10,000-hour rule.” The “10,000-hour rule” says that 10,000 hours are necessary to become a premium performer in a particular skill. Well, Josh’s idea is to look at the beginning of learning a new skill.

Most of us probably aren’t prepared yet to become a premium performer, but we can begin to learn new skills by having focused attention on them and devoting at least 20 hours to them.

Identify Your Skill Level

The first thing he talks about is you want to sharply define your desired skill. You also want to think about how good you want to be at that skill.

If you want to develop some expertise in building websites or doing social media, think about what skill level you want to attain. You probably don’t want to be a top expert; you may just need a basic knowledge.

If that’s the case, you can hire specialists to do some of the more complicated work. Think how good you want to really become.

Break It Down

If I want to be good at posting on LinkedIn, the first thing I may need to know is, do I have my LinkedIn account set up?

How do I create a post?

Maybe, how do I attach a photo to it?

How do I edit my post?

You examine that big skill and break it down into your sub-skills. Consider the critical tools that you may need to accomplish the tasks.

You need to eliminate barriers to your practice. This links back to the mini habits ideas. How do you make it almost ridiculously easy to do what you want to do?

Set things up so you’re not having to search for things. Maybe the first thing you have to do is organize your materials. In the case of writing this post, I pulled out a series of books that I thought might be useful to reference on this particular post and kept them nearby so I could easily use them.

Carve out Time

Next, you have to carve out some dedicated time. Again, we go back to establishing mini habits. You have to be able to practice.

Josh Kaufman says in the book if you want to start to become reasonably competent or proficient, you probably have to put in at least 20 hours of practice.

Now, in terms of when you think of habits and skills, then it’s probably a longer-term game you’re talking about here. Even to say I want a new skill on effectively creating posts on LinkedIn, I’m going to have to devote some time to actually making that happen.

As you get into this whole idea of practice and you have these sub-skills defined, practice those sub-skills very specifically, and then get some quick feedback on them.

You may want to have a partner or a study buddy, or a trusted colleague to help you create fast feedback loops so you can see where you’re getting it right or not. Have them critique your post and/or your results.

The End Game

The end game is pulling this all together. You want to reach big goals, but performing mini skills is your path forward. Repeated small steps develop the new, larger skills which will move you toward your goals.

So my question to you is:

For a new skill or behavior that will make a big impact on your business, what are the first small mini-habits that you need to start?

Tell me your thoughts in the comments below…

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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