We live in an age where information is literally at our fingertips. People can pick up a new skill or build on what they already know by using their phone or computer to access YouTube videos and countless websites on Google.
But that’s not usually enough to truly master a craft. Becoming accomplished at something requires additional time and effort. Below, I’ve shared some ways you can hone your skills and sharpen your knowledge in the pursuit of mastery.
Three Tips to Help You Master Your Craft
1. Truly Absorb New Information
When learning a new concept, it’s important to be 100 percent engaged and focused on what or who is teaching you. Treat the situation the same as a classroom setting. Whether your instructor is a book, the internet, a friend, or a mentor, limit distractions and pay attention. Turn off the TV, put the phone down, and tune in to every little detail so that you can absorb and retain the information.
If you find a concept confuses you or doesn’t make sense, go back, ask questions, or carefully listen or read about it again. Still not making sense? Perhaps turn to a different resource for the information. Often, I find it helpful to look for quick video tips and insight about multimedia production on YouTube. While it sometimes requires sifting through a few videos to find the one that truly hits the mark, ultimately it’s a time-efficient way to get clarification.
2. Realize that Practice Makes Perfect
Newly acquired knowledge is great, but it’s pretty useless if you don’t eventually put it into practice in your field of expertise. You can’t truly be an “expert” if you don’t live up to the word’s definition (a person with superior skill or knowledge in a particular area). Take the time to exercise the concepts or skills you already have or are learning via practice runs that give you practical experience with them in your field. Practice enables you to become proficient and efficient and stay at the top of your game. The best way to give your clients the confidence that you know what you’re doing is to know what you’re doing. (Duh!)
In my career, I’m heavily immersed in multimedia. I’m also a music instructor. Multimedia is constantly changing and evolving, and being a good music instructor means keeping my skills sharp and communicating concepts in ways that are easy to understand. If I did not understand the fundamentals and nuances of multimedia and music instruction, I wouldn’t feel credible or confident in my professional abilities. Now and then, I’ll revisit old projects and concepts to review how I did certain things. Sometimes I'll recreate them and study how I could do them better. I highly recommend this practice.
3. Connect with Those Who Inspire You
Surrounding yourself with others in your field will motivate you to be the best you can be. Just about everyone in my network is incredibly talented and makes me want to perform on that same level. Luckily for us, social media is beneficial for finding like-minded people.
An important thing to remember as well is to leave your ego at the door and accept that we all have much to learn, regardless of our experience. The moment you think you’re the best at what you do is the moment you run the risk of plateauing and losing your edge. Even if you are accomplished at your craft, there’s always room for improvement. I know that’s the case for me in everything I do.
People don’t become experts at their craft overnight; they get a little better every day with consistent effort and focus. To achieve positive change, it’s crucial to make the right choices along the way. Considering the above tips is a step in the right direction toward mastery and next-level success. Good luck!
Your turn! How do you stay sharp in your field?