Doing a lot of something should make you better
When we are school age and are learning a skill, such as an instrument or sport, we do a lot of it every day for probably 10 years to achieve a decent level of competence.
I think as adults we forget this basic fact and expect ourselves to be good at something quickly or without putting in reasonable effort and time.
After becoming a consultant and then taking on a 6 day a week clinical load in public and private practice, I’m sure it took another 4-5 years to develop solid expertise.
Expertise in this context isn’t just knowledge, but broad experience, ability to make quick decisions, ability to hone in quickly on a problem, time efficiency, confidence, communication skills and the list goes on.
I think having gone through this process, I can now see the deficiencies in my earlier self and in others who do not clock up the hours required to become expert.
Of course, without self assessment and appraisal to develop improved skills, I suppose one could remain static despite the external pressure to improve, such as the need to respond to a busier work schedule requiring improved time efficiency.
So with this insight, I feel we can reassure ourselves when faced with a new environment or job, that there is always a learning curve and there should be a skill set development process.
I think managers can use this to their advantage in recruiting staff, because provided there is the foundational knowledge in a staff member and desire to work hard and develop, with time the expertise will evolve even if it isn’t there on day one.
Developing expertise should also be seen as a real bonus for having slogged it out in a job. Whilst one job or career may not have worked or lead to some burn out, at least we can walk away with a new expert skill set.