- Select the top five current books in your field and read them each twice. Take notes. Research any references and resources listed at the back of each book. Examine any suggested websites or blogs. This should take about six months, if you're diligent.
- Then, read each new book that comes out in your field for the next year. You'll have lots to choose from. Just go to Amazon.com or to the Barnes and Noble site, get on their mailing list for your topic, and then read their recommended titles. (Actually, even once you become the expert, continue reading all new materials in your field.)
- Begin visualizing yourself as the expert, the one to whom everyone turns for advice, for leadership, for inspiration. This step is key. If you can't see yourself as the expert, no one else will either. You can begin this particular practice right now.
- Create a journal to keep track of your progress. Write questions and answer them from your readings. You'll look back on this effort later to chart your evolution.
- Begin writing a page a day about what you now know. Don't worry; you're not ready to submit anything for publication yet. These pages are for practice only. Writing everyday will help to solidify your new knowledge and expertise. As you write, you'll discover what you still need to learn. Eventually, you'll pull your writings together into various forms of publishable content. (That's a whole other subject for another article.)
These five steps are practical, simple, and powerful. But you must make the decision to do the work. Once you commit to practice, you'll begin to see opportunities to learn more, share more, and be more. You'll also notice more obstacles. These are what I call your "learning stones." Each obstacle presents the possibility of failure, and also the probability of success, if you do not give in to fear and doubt. They can strengthen your resolve or they can reinforce your weaknesses. It's up to you to keep the faith, so to speak, and to always know the difference. It's called entropy. Something will always be trying to drag you down. Resist. Regroup. Reform. Move on.
There are lots of people who want to be the best in their field, and some of them are your direct competition. Keep them in view, but concentrate more on your own journey. Obsessing about what others are doing will only slow you down.
No matter who you are or what kind of life you've had to this point, you can become the expert. And the expert is always in demand. Start now, don't quit, keep practicing. A great concert pianist is at the keyboard every day, often for many, many hours. The dedicated mathematician does equations every day. The professional athlete trains every day. The expert presenter researches and prepares confidently for the next presentation, the next audience.
So, Jim Rohn suggests 10 years, eh? This simple process that you now are going to implement will take about a year and a half to help skyrocket you to expert status. A year and a half. And that time will speed by no matter what you do. Might as well spend it wisely and productively. I get the sense that, in your mind, you're already seeing yourself as the expert. You've already begun the journey. Will you do what's necessary? Only you know the answer.
The path is now clear. Your success, with determination and continued practice, is assured.