A little over a week ago, I was fortunate enough to get to spend some time with Chris Brogan. We had coffee in the morning. Then, both of us finding ourselves free later, we had dinner. A couple times during our conversations, we talked about shortcuts. Chris put out a newsletter about our conversation on the value of coaches. (Subscribe to Chris’s newsletter here)
Our conversation reminded me of how much I have tried to cheat when possible. I have always tried to find the shortest and most direct path to results. Why spend time learning from mistakes when others have already found a path? You can’t get the deep knowledge you need without experience, but you can sure as heck supplement it by learning. Here are two of my favorite shortcuts.
The Shortcut That Is Reading Books
There aren’t too many shortcuts that are better or more powerful than reading books. An author spends countless hours gaining experience and knowledge and countless more building it into a cohesive set of ideas. Then he publishes his book.
You can access all of the author’s knowledge and experience for $9.99 and six hours of your time. If the writer spends 4,000 hours learning about their subject and writing their book (a very conservative estimate), you are paying her $.0025 for every hour of her time. That’s an extraordinary bargain and even more extraordinary leverage. How much time would it take you to learn as much as the author without reading their book?
How could anyone not read books? It’s a terrific shortcut. You get the great benefit of saving countless hours of learning—and you get the benefit of avoiding the most common and costly mistakes.
More still, it’s literally impossible to read something and not come away with a single useful idea.
The Shortcut That Is Coaching
During my conversation with Chris, I shared with him that I have an executive coach, a cycling coach, an acting coach, and a writing coach.
A coaching program is an excellent way to get produce better results faster. Just like authors, coaches have spent their lives studying something well enough to know how to help others get results in some area. They are subject matter experts in their fields, and they are passionate about their subject.
You can pay someone that knows how to get the results that you want to teach you how to get those results. It’s fast, and it’s effective.
Coaches leverage their knowledge and experience to help you perform better by looking at what you are doing, making observations and distinctions, giving you feedback, and helping you make adjustments that will allow you to improve your performance. A good coach will also push you to be the best you that you can possibly be, to move you outside of your comfort zone, and to hold you accountable.
In golf they say that you can’t see your own swing. I hate golf, but the truth of the matter is that you can’t see what you are doing wrong in much else either. An outside view is very helpful.
A coach can knock years off your time producing results. Their knowledge coupled with your willingness to take new actions is a seriously powerful shortcut.
You don’t need to learn everything from scratch when others that have already learned what you want to know. You don’t have to learn exclusively by trial and error; you don’t have to learn by making the most common mistakes. The shortcuts that you can take by reading and by getting a coach can provide you with the most important ideas and actions that you need to take to produce better results. This is what makes shortcuts so effective, and it’s why you should take them when you are able.
What do you need to improve now?
What could you read to provide yourself with news ideas you could use to produce better results?
Could you acquire a coach in the area you need to improve?
How much are you investing in your own personal development?
What are your favorite shortcuts?