Mr. Malcolm Gladwell, the best selling author of the book Outliers suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at any one task and to be considered a master at that craft. This level of fine tuning can take anywhere from five to ten years of dedication depending on the time you put into it.
As a Business Development professional, regardless of your industry, you will begin to be seen as a resource as you build long term relationships with your customers. They will begin to rely on you for more than the product you are affiliated with, and they will see you as a comprehensive resource for your industry. It has been my experience that having influence and being an industry resource is of incredible value; but where to start? How does one begin to create meaningful influence within their industry and build their 10,000 hours towards mastery?
Here are some of the ways I went about the process of creating influences and helping people along the way.
Practice and Share Your Journey.
On of my favorite ways to connect with people is on my blog! if you look back to the beginning of my blogging history about every 3rd post I wrote about what I was literally doing. You see, I was practicing and sharing what I was learning and teaching, simultaneously. I did not wait until I had everything figured out, I started writing as I was learning. Start with your own blog and begin sharing your findings. Once you feel comfortable with that, begin looking at possible speaking engagements or writing for a trade journal or local publication. Be willing to share your findings, expecting nothing in return, building rapport with anyone that finds your work. It was by sharing what I was doing that I learned more, and by way of sharing it with you, created value.
Read, Research and Invent.
In order to be a resource in your industry you must know what is going on and begin creating your own predictions as to where the industry is headed. One of the most attractive attributes of an industry influencer is they are not afraid to predict the future! Being a predictor is more about being willing to notice what is going on and share your own perspective on possibilities and be less concerned about your accuracy and more excited about your willingness to talk about it. Another way to expand your perspective is to read about what others are saying. Spending even 10 minutes each morning reading can sharpen your sword for the day ahead.
Mentor and Be Mentored.
Simply put, finding someone who knows more than you do as well as someone who knows less and then joining arms is so incredibly valuable to your life! I have found my favorite moments are when I am sitting across the table or on the phone with someone and I hear the gears “click” into place for someone and they “GET” what message they were meant to get. Being on the giving and receiving end of that is total soul food. If you feel you are under qualified to mentor, trust me, someone out there knows less than you and are looking to be helped in the same way someone is looking to help you. Giving without expecting anything in return is the best juice to keep the flow of your life going.
Like Mr Gladwell talks about, it requires patience to be willing to hone your message/craft. Today’s world moves so fast, we are all racing to an imaginary finish line that does not actually exist. This whole deal is a journey, and it has been my experiences that openly sharing your journey is one of the fastest ways to influences your network and create value for the people you meet.
Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter @LindseyRainH2O