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Can you be great at anything?

By Trevor Coltham


I’m sure, you have sat comfortably watching TV and seen an amazing cook, a talented athlete or a report on a wealthy businessperson and thought:

“I wish I could do that!”

It’s possible that you put their success down to natural talent, skills, tools or resources you don’t have.

Many people believe that these experts are born with these special talents. I hear people say things like:

“they have great genes”

“better opportunities” or

they are just luckier than me”.

While most of us are unlikely to be able to jump like Michael Jordon or be as creative as Elon Musk, we can make a massive improvement in our own game by modelling the best at work.

It’s about finding someone who already has the results you want in a given field, breaking down what they do and doing the same things.

The definition of mastery is:

“A sequence of actions/behaviours done over and over again. When you take the time to discover what those actions/behaviours are, model them, practice them, make it OK to mess it up and adjust then keep taking action, you really can become a master of whatever you want.”

It’s been suggested that mastery in any context takes 10,000 hours of practice. There are a few things to consider here:

  • No-one with just raw talent and no practice makes it for long. Certainly not for 10,000 hours.
  • You don’t have to be a master to get massive benefit from modelling experts or those who have achieved mastery.
  • If you really look, there are experts with the skills you want closer than you think. E.g.  the best salesperson in your company does something different from everyone else. A great friend may have a better relationship than you. Possibly your mother-in-law cooks a ripper roast beef?

So how can you use this?

Rather than believing that others have some special magic power, decide on a context in your own work/life you would like to improve.

Maybe you could improve your tennis game, manage money better, communicate better, get appointments with more prospects or be an outstanding parent/ partner.

Find someone who already does this well. Find out exactly what they are doing differently from you and ask them “how do you do that?” “where do you focus when doing that” “what internal language do you use on yourself” “and what else?”

Take action.

Implement what you find out and then make it work for you in your world.  When it starts working, make it part of your personality.

As Lao-tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Reach out to me if you would like to learn more.