I believe it’s important to reflect on the things you’re doing and the things that are important to you. If you don’t, you’ll be missing a lot of opportunity for learning along the way. When you reflect on important things, you’ll see new pathways that will help you succeed. You’ll learn more about what worked and didn’t work. With just a little bit of time spent in reflection on a regular basis (daily) you can see some fantastic results.
As part of your reflection time, I believe you should set milestones for yourself along the way. In addition to your daily reflection, these milestones can help you figure out where to change and where to grow. You can connect your milestones with the longer term goals you’ve set for yourself.
You have goals that you plan to reach. Hopefully, you’ve set goals for the next 30 days, 6 months, and beyond. These goals should be solid and specific. But, how do you know you’re going to achieve those goals? It shouldn’t be a surprise at the end. You shouldn’t just know that you’re going to reach those goals— there should be no doubt in your mind.
You know you’re going to reach those goals because you’re able to reflect on your milestones. Let’s say you have a goal you want to reach by the end of these 30 days. You might set milestone check-ins for the first week, the second week, and the third week. That way, you can look at how far you’ve come and what you need to do to achieve the fourth week.
Don’t over-complicate things. You might just tell yourself that you want to achieve X by Sunday, as part of your 30-day goal. You want to achieve X by the Sunday after that. On those Sunday’s, sit down and journal or simply reflect on what you’ve done or not done to achieve these milestones. This can really be whatever you want it to be. It’s designed to help you “check in” on yourself you’re able to stay on the course you set for yourself.
I suggest you brainstorm as a way of setting these milestones. Think about your 30-day goal or your 6 month goal. What are all the things you need to do to achieve those goals? Write down everything you can think of.
Now remember, you also should be reflecting and making a decision at the start as to what level of expertise you want to reach. There’s no shame in deciding that you want to be “just enough” of an expert so that you can teach the topic to those who are below that level. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being ultimate authority, you might be happy reaching a level of 5. That still will be enough of an expert to be successful, and you might be able to reach that level in just 30 days, or 60 days, if you really apply yourself.
Of course, if you’re determined to be a real authority on your topic, you probably want to go far beyond the initial sprint of the first 30 days, and perhaps keep advancing for years or for life. So your regular reflection will help you make those decisions and keep you on track.
When you’re finished, create a timeline for yourself. Figure out what you need to have done each month, each week, and each day in order to achieve your goal. You want to become an expert— but what does that mean? What does that entail, for you and your topic, specifically? I think you’ll find that this is an extremely valuable exercise.
Remember to use other successful experts as inspiration if you’re stuck. Examine the journey they went on. Ask yourself what they had to accomplish, and by when. Since you get the benefit of learning from their successes and failures, you might be able to ramp up your timeline a bit. You can do it on warp-speed since you’re going to pick and choose from what worked and what didn’t. You have a big time advantage.
Journal your experiences along the way. Do this in whatever form works for you. Maybe you’d like to get one of those hardcover executive notebooks to brainstorm, journal, and reflect. Or, maybe it’s more in your nature to want something special to journal in— like a handcrafted leather journal.
The fact is that this is a special process. You should pat yourself on the back, already. You’ve set a goal that you’re determined to reach. You are really dedicating yourself to becoming an expert on your topic. Treat yourself right and get yourself something special— you’ll be able to look back on your journal or notebook later on and smile, because you’ve come so far. Actually, this journal will be extremely handy if you eventually plan on offering your own coaching or mentoring services on your topic of expertise.
Journaling and reflection is a great way to improve your process. If you just barrel straight ahead without pausing to reflect, you’ll be making a huge mistake. It will take you a lot longer and your knowledge won’t be as vast as it would be otherwise.
It can take a while to get into the habit of journaling and reflection, of course. Be mindful of it for the next month or so. Take just 5 minutes at first, if that’s easiest for you. I promise— you’ll love the results it brings you on your path to becoming an expert.
Always look for ways you can improve. Don’t be content with the thought that it’s going to take you X amount of time to become a “true” expert. It’s time for you to break down barriers and accomplish things so quickly that people will wonder how in the world you did it.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t become an expert quite quickly. By being mindful of your process, inventing your own path, and pausing for reflection, you’ll be able to accomplish whatever it is you’ve set out to accomplish.