What if you could easily improve work performance, becoming more effective while also feeling less stressed out?
You know, the kind of calm, confidence, and clarity that comes from really having your act together.
That sense of stability that comes from being “large and in-charge” of your area of responsibility, even if it looks like rough sailing ahead.
And isn’t that the funny part?
Even if you know that the path you’re going down might be treacherous in many expected and unexpected ways, you can go forward with confidence if you feel that you are well-prepared.
What if you had a way to reliably get to that point on any project or area of responsibility?
Well, you can. I’ll explain how.
Improve work performance with an unfair advantage
Leverage is that thing that lets you do more than you should be able to do.
You can’t move that big rock in your backyard. It’s too heavy.
Then, miraculously, you rig up a lever and it moves easily. With a relatively small force, you can move a very large rock.
You can’t afford to purchase your dream house right now, even though you finally find the right place in the right neighborhood, in a great town. It’s way more money than you have on hand.
Then, you apply financial leverage, and you buy the house. With a relatively small amount of money, you can make a very large purchase.
You can’t just ring up any executive in town for advice and information. You don’t know everybody.
Then, you leverage your network of contacts, and viola, you can connect directly with just about anyone in town through a personal introduction.
You are using leverage all the time. And you know how ridiculously effective it can be.
The same is true for your work. Whether it’s a project or operational area or something else.
You can make a relatively small investment of time and effort and reap tremendous benefits.
The two biggest secrets to level up your work
There are exactly two secrets that are critical to making this work for you. When you apply these ideas, you will get outsize results.
That’s your unfair advantage. Because most people view this topic as an “all or nothing” game.
But you can’t boil the ocean.
You have to make strategic choices.
You can select one thing at a time to master. And by focusing deeply, working through the details, and putting in some sweat equity, you will emerge with a deeper understanding and a higher level of mastery.
And that’s SECRET NUMBER ONE: You don’t need to get every aspect of everything perfect all the time. Instead, you need to focus on one (important) thing at a time and go deep enough to gain significant residual benefits.
This is where the second secret comes in. Because the real power is in working these secrets together.
You see, the problem much of the time is that we don’t focus quite deeply enough or quite long enough to get the full benefits of our focus.
We get to “good enough” and then we hustle on to the next item or emergency. At the time, this definitely feels like the right thing to do.
But there is a better way. And this is where the outsize results come from.
That’s SECRET NUMBER TWO: Don’t stop when the work is good enough for others. Stop only when the work is good enough for you.
What do I mean by this? I mean that you should make sure that your efforts go far enough to repay you in confidence, control, and insights that strengthen your position over time.
Your goal is to master various aspects of your job over time. To gain a command of the situations you manage, the responsibilities you hold, and the underlying fundamentals.
And those fundamentals become clearer as you become more deliberate, more organized, and more thoughtful and analytical about each area.
The combined benefit
Here’s the combined benefit:
You cycle through different aspects of your work. In each area, you dig deep enough to gain increased personal mastery.
That mastery is powerful in a couple of important ways.
First, your greater understanding gives you valuable insights that you otherwise might have missed. Those valuable insights give you greater confidence because you are truly growing your expertise.
Second, going to that depth helps you learn how to learn and how to gain mastery. This carries over to your efforts to go deep in other areas. Soon, you start to see patterns that you might have otherwise missed.
As you cycle through different projects, operational areas, technical skills, and other areas, you begin to build a significant arsenal of knowledge and experience. This further builds your confidence.
And building your confidence is critical. As you come to know that you are doing good work, you will become a stronger leader–of yourself and others. You will be able to better withstand criticism, contribute more strategically, and become more influential.
You will also gain a greater sense of calm.
When you are a confident expert, you don’t need to feel panicky. You get better at avoiding harmful knee-jerk reactions. You become the voice of reason when the going gets tricky.
All of this positions you to grow into bigger and bigger opportunities over time.
Spreading yourself thin is not the best way for you to improve performance at work. That leads to too much time doing shallow work, which restricts your ability to grow.
Instead, you should focus deeply in different areas over time. That’s how you will gain real mastery. And with that mastery comes confidence, knowledge, insights, and influence.
The two biggest secrets to achieving mastery are to 1) work on one important thing at a time, and 2) to go deep enough in that area that you personally gain long-term benefits.
By playing the long-game in this way, you will build incredible capabilities for yourself over time. Which will lead to many new opportunities.
You won’t be able to be great at all things all the time. Some less important items will slip a bit. But that’s ok, because you will cycle around to all areas eventually.
And when you do, you will have powerful expertise, and you will be a stronger leader of yourself and others.