Where Can You Improve to Get the Most Career Boost?
The quick and dirty tip is to identify your “moments of truth”—when you create the most important results in your life—and concentrate your improvement efforts on those moments.
If you're listening to this podcast, you presumably believe in self-improvement. Today we’ll discuss how to choose what to learn next time you read a book or take a class, so you can get the biggest bang for your buck.
The quick and dirty tip is to identify your “moments of truth”—when you create the most important results in your life—and concentrate your improvement efforts on those moments. It was the bottom of the 9th. We were the home team, losing 6-3 with two outs, two strikes, and men on first and second. (If you don’t know baseball, just lean forward, clench your fists in anticipation, and hyperventilate. You'll get the idea.) The batter stepped up. He lifted the bat, waited, and swung…He hit a home run. Suddenly, we were tied 6-6. Moments later, we won the game.
The moment the batter swung the bat was his Moment of Truth. All his training, all his practice, all his concentration came down to the moment his bat connected with the ball. That’s the moment he gets paid for. Your moments of truth are moments that make the big difference. If you want to work less and do more, find these moments and get really good at them. If you take courses, take courses that supercharge your moments of truth. If you read books, read books that help your moments of truth. If you listen to podcasts…
Let me give some examples from work, play, and home life. Since I haven’t actually worked at all the jobs I’ll mention, please let me know where I’m wrong by posting thoughts about your own jobs on the Get-it-Done Guy website.
If you find and fix problems—like an auto mechanic—finding is one moment of truth, fixing is another. Those are the two moments you make the biggest difference, so those are the things to get really good at. Other moments may be necessary (like paying your bills), but they aren’t your moments of truth. What people pay you for is knowing the difference between a gum wrapper stuck in a tailpipe and a broken gas line that’s about to explode. They also pay you to fix the gas line—properly. (Unless the car belongs to their mother-in-law, but that’s a topic for a different podcast.) Management consultants, appliance repair people, and software support engineers are all professions that find and fix problems.
Service jobs, being a waitperson, teaching, or working retail have their moments of truth when things go wrong. When everyone’s happy, you’re pretty much invisible. When the steak is too well-done, or the student isn’t learning, that’s when you become most valuable. Helping people calm down and resolving problems without inflaming emotions are where to focus your attention.
Are you creative, like an architect or fashion designer? If so, you also have two moments of truth: design and creation. If you’re an architect and you design a butt-ugly building, great execution gives you a really well-built, long-lasting butt-ugly building… with your name on it …for decades (see the website for links). If your design is creative but you skimp on execution, you get a funky building that falls apart, burns down, and sinks into the nearest swamp. Put your efforts into great design and great execution.
Here’s a puzzle: In romance, what do you think are the moments of truth?
My friend Biff says, “Dude, my moment of truth is when I score!”
Not so fast, Biff (and I do mean not-so-fast). When it comes to sales (and let’s face it, that’s romance), making the sale is only one moment of truth, delivering the goods is another. You better be good at both, or word will get out. Trust me. I’ll make sure.
And while we’re at it, anyone whose relationships last longer than a few hours knows, there’s another moment of truth. That’s the moment you deal with conflict. They’ve even shown it with research. How you resolve I-want-Italian-food versus I-don’t-want-to-go-out-tonight might just make or break you. So when you’re home alone rehearsing your great pick-up lines in front of the mirror, spend some time with “The Relationship Handbook” too. Get good at all your moments of truth. You’ll be happier, your spouse will be happier, and this time, he or she might even stay.
What are your moments of truth? The moments that make the big difference in your job? In your relationship? In your hobbies? Put your self-improvement efforts on those moments and you’ll get the most bang for your learning buck.