I am particularly interested in Chapter Two,”Building Expertise”, in 99 U's Maximize Your Potential. As a student who is about to graduate with a degree in IDD I think this advice is important to keep in mind as I try to start and build a career.
Many people I would imagine have at some time in their life felt like everyone in the room is more talented than they are. I know that I have felt it. It is can be a discouraging feeling and it requires that inner voice to tell yourself “it is fine, just keep on trying”. Heidi Grant Halvorson speaks to this feeling. She stresses the importance of always trying to get better not just settling on being good. Critiques and evaluations are a part of the business. Taking the critiques and evaluations and learning from them will only help you to get better and to increase your skill level.
Advice from Halvorson to keep in mind.
- Give yourself permission to screw up. Mistakes are a part of the process. Halvorson points out that for many if you focus on getting better as opposed to being good you are actually less likely to make mistakes in the long run.
- To not be afraid to ask for help. It is foolish to think that you do not need help. Asking for help shows a level of capability.
- Compare yourself to yourself. This I think is the best piece of advice and probably the hardest for people to do. Instead of comparing your work to others compare your work to your earlier work. Strive to develop and improve your skills.
- Think in terms of progress, not perfection. Write down your goals. Re-think them in terms of getting better as opposed to being good.
- Examine your beliefs, and when necessary, challenge them. Always keep in mind that real improvement is always possible. Halvorson writes, “When it comes to mastering any skill, your experience, effort and persistence matters a lot”. p.81
More advice I took from Chapter Two revolved around work habits. Tony Schwartz writes that from studying the science of high performance he has learned that working in sprints of 90 minutes than taking a break is best for developing mastery skills. He also suggests that the morning is the time for projects that take the greatest amount of creativity and that four and a half hours is the maximum time to devote to an activity to achieve high performance. Sleep is vital and listening to the body is important. He suggests developing a personal ritual when it comes to work habits. He writes, “Mastery is about regularly pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, while also learning how to deeply restore and take care of yourself.”p90. Joshua Foer advises to push yourself out of your comfort zone.The ok plateau is not a good place to land and it requires a state of constant learning to avoid it. Just like the examples of the mastery musician or the expert ice skater, Foer reminds to keep practicing, particularly the skills that I find the hardest to do.
Another suggestion I got from Chapter Two is keeping a diary. I would never in million years think I would keep a diary. However, Teresa Amabile, Steven Kramer and Ela Ben-Ur make a very convincing argument that keeping a diary is a great motivator. A diary is a great sounding board, a good record of what you have done and have accomplished as well as a great way to keep in mind what still needs to be done. Looking back on your accomplishments and even failures is a way to learn and a way to motivate. It tracks your progress and gives you new ideas of how to go forward. After reading this part of the chapter I more than ever see the benefits of using a diary.
So now that I have read Chapter Two I feel more confident that I can do this. First thing is to work on my comps for the website. I admit I was disappointed after last class’ critique that they still needed improvement. But I feel better about it now.
Glei, Jocelyn K., ed. Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career. Las Vegas: Amazon, 2013. Print.