Figuring out what mattersisn’t always obvious
Unfortunately, we know this a lot easier said than done. The first problem is that what actually matters in
your profession isn’t always obvious. It can be easy to spend years honing skills that don’t turn out to be
all that rare or valuable.
This is especially true in knowledge work. If your career has a clearly defined skill—say being a musician or athlete—you know what matters. But it can be harder to answer this same question when you work in an office, spending your days filing reports and going to meetings.
Navigating a career can feel like a maze. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of skills that you could potentially master. Which matter most? All of them seem like they might reasonably help your career. However, it’s impossible to become world-class in hundreds of different things. Choose poorly and you get left behind.
Top Performer deals with this confusion by giving you tools for doing research. Following the system we
teach, you can identify which skills make the difference between average players and top performers.
It’s easy to get stuck below your potential
Even if you do navigate your way out of the first danger of picking the wrong skills, you’re still left with
the task of getting really good at them. This is far from easy.
Just doing your job isn’t enough. Most of the activities of daily work don’t meet the criteria for deliberate practice. This means that most knowledge workers will soon hit a plateau—at which point they stop getting better. This can continue for months, years, sometimes even forever.
Applying deliberate practice to knowledge work, however, is tricky. While it’s easy to look at basketball players doing layup drills or musicians straining themselves to master tricky pieces, there are no obvious corresponding practice routines for programmers, writers, managers or professors.
Becoming a top performer may be simple: figure out what matters and get really good at it. But these two
steps are often very hard to apply. That is why we created Top Performer.