The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
While you may be an excellent programmer, what are some other areas of programming where you can improve your skills? Being good in a few core areas doesn’t mean there isn’t additional learning to do.
Core competency is a phrase that is often heard at our offices. What is your core competency as an individual? What is our core competency as a company? Once we know what we are best at, we allow those individuals to focus on their strengths. To do so, we have to identify others who are strong where we’re weakest, so we can focus on our strengths.
Once we graduate from school, we generally don’t revisit core subjects — especially if we were good at them. But times change and business evolves. If you want your strengths to stay strengths, take some additional coursework or solicit a mentor who can help you take things to the next level.
Practicing humility and recognizing that you can in fact improve in certain areas is key. Constantly challenge yourself to get better and look for those opportunities to sharpen your skills.
If you’re good at something, nothing makes that skill better than deliberate practice. Deliberate practice focuses on the quality of your practice, not necessarily the quantity and, in some cases, practicing “more” can actually be counterproductive to your goals. I make sure that when I practice at a core competency, I do it to the best of my ability and never practice in a trivial way.
As a columnist for Inc. and a new blogger, I’ve come to appreciate how writing forces you to organize your thoughts and dive deeper into topics that you have expertise in. Blogging is a forcing function for developing a strong personal perspective on issues that you face in your day-to-day work.
I like to observe other people who have similar strengths to my own. As an innate problem-solver, I’ve become better at my job by watching how other people approach their work and learn from their experiences. I’m then able to adapt what I’ve learned and take my own approach to the situation.
Even if the idea remains the same, the way to go about achieving the end result may change over time. Core strengths shift. The apex of your business today may not be as relevant tomorrow. Something that started as secondary to the success of your business may become essential to keeping you at the top of your field. Keep an open mind and evolve. Keep learning so you can keep growing.
In this performance-oriented world, sometimes the focus is on continually improving your weaknesses, instead of building your strengths. Having a mentor who can help identify where your strong suits are is a key ingredient in continuing to strengthen them. Remaining focused on the positive, and putting less emphasis on the negative will aid in building your core strengths.
— Sheldon Michael
Double down and focus on your core strength to enhance it and make it even stronger. This would mean devoting 80 percent of your productive time to your core strengths and relegating the remaining 20 percent doing other things. The more time you devote to working on it, the more opportunities you will discover as a result of going deep in that specific domain.
Thanks to the importance of content marketing for SEO, excellent advice is everywhere nowadays. Read any resources you can on your core strength, and invest in buying some related books as well. Reading forces your mind to slow down and think. Plus, if you go with books or other offline materials, you can do it anywhere. Keep a notepad with you, and write down any ideas that your reading inspires.