How to master a new skill for growth and success

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In today’s world, mastering new skills is not optional but a key to success. We should constantly look for opportunities and stretch ourselves in ways that may not seem to be comfortable at first. Continual improvement is necessary to get ahead. 

Be it public speaking, using social media, or analyzing data, learning techniques will vary depending on the person’s skill. 

Here are some principles to follow in your quest for self-improvement. 

Check your readiness      

To learn a new skill, check if your goal is attainable and how much time and energy can you devote to the project. Learning a new skill takes commitment and unless your goal is attainable, and you are prepared to work hard, you won’t get very far. 

Make sure it’s needed

Make sure the skill is relevant to your career, organization, or both. Nurturing a new skill needs investment and you need to know upfront what the return will be.

Know how you learn best 

Figure out your ideal learning style. Is it by looking at the graphics, reading, watching demonstrations, or a hands-on experience? Recall the experiences from the past that can help you determine the learning environment that works best for you. 

Get the right help

Find someone you trust in your organization who has mastered the skill you are trying to attain. If you can’t find somebody who can provide you with quality mentoring inside your company, you can seek outside help. 

Start small 

Trying to attain too many skills altogether can be distracting. Initially start with one or two skills to focus on at a time, and break that skill down into manageable goals. 

Reflect along the way 

Whatever skill you learn, you need to reflect on it on others. Share your goals and progress with people who can provide you with every kind of support and give valuable feedback along the way. This will keep you accountable and cement the change

Challenge yourself to teach it to others

The quickest way to learn something new and practice it is to teach others how to do it. Share what you learn with your team, manager, or co-workers. You can do this by putting a “teaching” date on your calendar or a formal training session for a few months. 

Be patient

Learning a new skill requires patience. It can’t happen in a blink of an eye, it usually takes six months or more. Also, it may even take longer for others to see and appreciate your skills. 

Some Dos and Don’ts to remember when learning a new skill: 

Dos:

  • Select a skill that is valued by your organization and manager
  • Segregate the skill into  smaller, manageable tasks
  • Reflect on others what you’ve learned 

Don’ts:

  • Try to learn in a vacuum- seek guidance and feedback
  • Rely solely on your boss for advice 
  • Assume it is going to happen overnight

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