Post by Jerry Baker on August 31, 2016

What does it take to become an improved version of yourself? Perseverance, grit, and hard work towards an uncommon goal!

Is it that simple? Well, almost…

In GRIT, a book (I highly recommend reading) by Angela Duckworth, she writes about the science of improving yourself and the importance of deliberate practice to make yourself even better than you are now.

She writes that it takes:

  • A clearly defined stretch goal
  • Full concentration and effort
  • Immediate and informative feedback
  • Repetition with reflection and refinement

We all know how important it is to have a compelling vision, one that motivates you and your team to reach a big goal. But, what else is needed?

You need to master the skills of your current career or profession – even if you don’t like what you are doing and want a change. I believe the practice and discipline of being the best at what you are doing now prepares you to be the best at whatever you discover to be your real passion and long-term pursuit. And, being really good at what you do now gives you the confidence that you can master something new. It could propel you towards a new career path or encourage you to start your own business!

It is wise to remember whenever an employer is evaluating you, they always look at what you have done, not necessarily what you are doing. They typically ask: how well did you perform, what was accomplished, and what do you really know? To get closer to where you want to go, work hard now. It will pay off!

My advice is to master your current role. Give it your full concentration and effort. I have observed too many people just going through the motions in their jobs. They are not learning all they can about their specific position, the company where they work, or the trajectory ahead for the business as a whole.

When I worked for an aircraft company, I compiled data on the cost of materials to build various aircrafts (which was a long way from what I ultimately did). This data was used to price future airplanes. I became interested in using titanium, a new metal in aircraft fabrication, and found data on the costs of titanium versus aluminum. Before long I was the company’s expert on the cost of the new metal. This experience led to more opportunity and gave me confidence that I could become an “expert” at anything I tried (well, almost anything).

Do well in your current role, develop your skills, and use them to excel in your career. Work now towards being the best you because the best is yet to come!


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Jerry Baker
Executive Coach

Jerry Baker joined Building Champions as a CEO Mentor in 2009. He has experienced the impact of coaching first hand as a client and corporate partner of Building Champions. He most recently served as CEO, President and member of the Board of Directors of First Horizon National Corporation and First Tennessee Bank.

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