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5 Ways to Transform From Mediocrity to Excellence

5 Ways to Transform From Mediocrity to Excellence

A shooting star…

Who doesn’t want to be the next “thing” to hit it to the next level; whether it’s in your career, business, finally having 1k followers on Instagram or even the next step with your boo. Many of us have excelled, passed the status quotient in school, and even landed jobs in our field (nowadays that can be a task, all by itself). We always express a promise in whatever we do. Though we have the ability, we may have found that we have hit a glass ceiling; but we may also be surprised that we build it ourselves.

How can we push through our limits in order to reach the full potential that is waiting to burst out of us?

1. Own Up

Our first lesson comes from one of the most popular songs of the 2000’s; Shaggy’s “It wasn’t me.”  After being busted for cheating, Shaggy’s lady runs down a list of reasons that she KNOWS (and evident as hell…) that he is cheating on her. But in typical fashion Shaggy results to …DENY….DENY….DENY…..DENY! Literally finding himself in the girl, looking with her two eyes, and Shaggy continues with….It wasn’t me.

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wasnt me

    Have you ever found that a problem or issue wasn’t your fault, no matter how obvious it all was?

    Hiding (or better yet lying) from the truth in fear of damaging your “image.”

    When we own up to our faults, it then always helps us shift to discover a problem, instead of wasting time finding people to pin it on. It also shows that you are willing to take the initiative. Even though you were wrong, people will respect you more for being real and owning up to it. A weight will be lifted off your chest, as you no longer have to walk on pins and needles waiting for someone to “figure you out.”

    2. Right Time

    When someone is waiting for the “right time” it reminds me of the jumping rope. There you are, catching the rhythm of the rope, to find the perfect time to jump in. But since the variable of the turning rope is not in your hands, it is either too slow or maybe the rope is just a tad short; you wait and wait for the “right time.”  Now everybody is cursing you out because you are taking too long.

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    waiting for

      The fact is that it is never going to happen unless you just jump in.

      Waiting for the perfect opportunity to speak up in a meeting, tell a new project idea to your boss, or starting a new business; will never come. You will never have just the time you need, or even have the guts to say “boss man, this isn’t working.”  Just like the jump rope, you have to jump in and figure it out when you get there.

      Extraordinary only happens when you ACT, good ideas that stay in your head do you no good…

      3. It has to be Perfect

      Let me just look over this one more time. 

      Then ‘one more time’ turns into another week; another week, that you could have been preparing for the next project but you’re too busy making sure that this one is PERFECT. Perfection is just a myth that society has created in order to stall time. We place it on our resumes bragging as if it is a trophy; but in reality it shows signs of low confidence. Another way of saying that “I’m not quite yet ready to be judged by the world, let me continue to work on it.”  Instead of perfectionism, how about we strive for a trait that is obtainable. Excellence! Excellence is giving it your best.  Your superiors will be delighted that you are no longer wasting time but completing work at a higher standard.

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      perfect

        4. Stand Out

        The crowd. As children, our parents taught us to be leaders and not followers; but somehow when we became adults, that message was lost in translation. What they forget to tell us is that standing out from the crowd can have its downfall. Speaking out for injustice (#BlackLivesMatter), disagreeing with what the majority say in meetings, or even trying something new; could all be ridiculed from ‘the crowd” because it is different.  This alone can cause people to keep their mouths shut and keep it moving with everyone else.

        At times, all it takes is to be different and use your voice, you never know how it may encourage others who were once frightened to follow. It also allows your organization to have those honest conversations about new policies or products they might be launching. In the long run, they will be happy that you opened your mouth.

        5. Feel like it

        There are two times in life that we often complete the task; when we just do it, and when we “feel like doing it.”

        Though we become “doers”, it becomes a habit in who we are as people. Completing tasks when you “feel” like it works, but what happens when you no longer do? It just sits there; the best recipe to become mediocre.

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        rock

          While you wait to get the feeling, the “doer” in the office has already completed it, making a name for themselves, while you continue to wait until you “feel” the urge to complete the task. Opportunities present themselves to the ones who are already prepared (they won’t have to get ready because they stay ready).

          If you find yourself hitting this glass window, take a look at these factors and get out of your own way. Uncover the potential that lies within you, and go out to claim all that is meant for your life.

          Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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          Jasamine Hill

          The Millennials' Life Coach

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          Last Updated on August 20, 2019

          Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

          Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

          Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

          This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

          The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

          Curiosity

          Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

          People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

          Patience

          Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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          When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

          Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

          A Feeling for Connectedness

          This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

          A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

          The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

          With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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          1. Research

          Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

          Learning the Basics

          Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

          Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

          What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

          Hitting the Books

          Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

          Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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          Long-Term Reference

          While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

          My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

          2. Practice

          Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

          A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

          Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

          3. Network

          One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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          These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

          Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

          4. Schedule

          For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

          Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

          Final Thoughts

          In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

          If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

          At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

          More About Self-Learning

          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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