“If you are born poor is not your mistake, But if you die poor it’s your fault.”
Bill Gates, CEO Microsoft
Unlike the other hundred thousand self-development quotes, this one might actually be able to inspire a change; at least that’s what it has done to me – because it pinpoints your ability and smacks you into the face for not using it. No, I haven’t changed my life around 180 degrees and became a millionaire or found the cure for cancer. But I am actually living a better life – earning more money, studying harder and on my way towards a proper beach body.
However, this isn’t about my life story; so let’s get straight to the facts:
Can you get better? Most likely, yes.
First, let’s have a look on why you haven’t evolved on your own and landed on HisPotion, reading this article. There is one catch-all cause which directly leads to a halt in what should be someone’s constant need to improve: INSECURITY.
Being insecure isn’t just being scared about what people are thinking about you. Mostly, insecurity is the reason why you aren’t leaving your comfort zone, taking risks and diving into opportunities. Here’s the catch: insecurity doesn’t always mean fear – if you are not advancing in your career because you don’t feel secure, it’s due more to getting used to certain conditions rather than being afraid of advancing.
So, getting comfy on the couch is counterproductive?
Actually, it is, no matter how you look at it, directly or metaphorically. Call it rude, but it has been verified since the beginning of modern civilization that couch potatoes won’t go forward, because, well.. they’re sitting down.
There is more than just laziness when it comes to being a couch potato. Maybe you started off really well and self-limited yourself due to fading expectations. You though you’ll continue earning well even if you put in less effort and relax more, but the cruel reality has different plans.
Insecurity fades as soon as you accept the idea of starting over, working from the ground up once more, or for the first time. Previous experience helps those whom have had a boost before suddenly falling beneath their potential. However, what about those willing to pump up their skills and lifestyle for the first time?
Imagine the following scenario. After 3 to 5 years in college, getting in touch with high education, booze, delaying assignments to the last minute, you get out with a degree and pretty much no experience of how to real world works.
Sadly, this applies to more than 50% of students around the world, whom, despite their degree, must pursue careers which are lower paid or completely unrelated to their field of study.
It’s a vicious circle: no one hires you because you lack experience, and you lack experience because no one hires you. Is there a getaway? Yes.
Finding a job right after college isn’t easy, especially when you desperately need money to pay off study loans. Starting a part time job is just a temporary solution and should be avoided if possible. Part time jobs are usually in the consumer industry and are probably unrelated to your studies. This translates in badly used time, which you could’ve otherwise used to improve yourself.
Enough with the talk: tell me how to get experience and win big.
Gaining experience and skills – TRAINING
Let’s set on thing clear: you won’t earn as much as a CEO right away – as I mentioned in the beginning, big cash come with hard work and patience. Winning the lottery doesn’t count here.
Although you might’ve gotten some knowledge out of college and maybe you even have some basic experience from your workplace, big cash won’t come if you stall. Instead, here are a few ideas on how to improve your skills and open new opportunities:
Seminars: yes, it may cost you a few hours of your time and it may at first feel like you aren’t accomplishing anything. However, learning how to actively interact at a seminar will boost your knowledge and self-esteem. Check out your area for seminars related to your field of study and do your best to attend, ask questions and create contacts.
Further education: a degree is the starting point towards a prolific career; however, as you advance, you may need to consider taking on a higher level of education, such as a Master’s degree or even a Phd, depending on what the market needs. Remember: a higher level of education means another few study years so plan accordingly. Negotiate with your current company and see if you can obtain an interest-free loan to pay for your future degree.
Connect with experts: Getting better at what you do is inefficient if people don’t notice it. Work on creating a network of contacts in your field; create a killer LinkedIn account, participate in seminars and spread your business cards, ask for phone numbers, e-mail addresses. In short words, make sure people remember your name. Don’t be overwhelming, though.
Become an expert yourself
The current work market aims towards people getting highly specialized in a domain. No one is any longer interested in a do-all kind of guy. Ultimately, your goal should reflect on becoming an expert in your field.
Don’t miscomprehend the concept! Being an expert doesn’t necessarily mean you somehow have a hard drive installed inside your head, storing all relevant knowledge in a field, word by word. Being an expert means owning the knowledge, experience and resources for analyzing and proposing a solution for current issues in your field.
Finally, how about money?
Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t easy. Neither is to start off your own business and manage it properly towards earning a profit. Either way, big money come with time, experience and connections. In the end, it’s about getting out of your couch or out of your cubicle and actually do something to improve your skills.
Once you become a reliable resource for your company or generally speaking, for your field of expertise, the opportunity to negotiate your salary will arise. While some people are natural born talents when it comes to negotiation, most of us need a little polishing before going head to head against the chief finance officer. Here are a few resources you can check on how to negotiate your salary, after you have upgraded your skills.
- Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High – Kerry Patterson
- Never Split The Difference – Chris Voss
- Influence: Psychology of Persuasion – Dr. Robert Cialdini