Do you ever read something and it makes you stop everything? Â Seth Godin did it to me today with his post about 4 different roads. Â The quote that hit me was, “Nine years of experience is very different from one year of experience, nine times”. Â Godin uses the road metaphor here to talk about taking the road that you know which will allow you to navigate it more quickly, but may not get you where you want to go, taking the wrong road, not sticking with the road long enough and being on the right road.
I like that he doesn’t have two choices – right and wrong. Â In fact, the road that is known isn’t necessarily awful because you do get a chance to be better at it and know where it goes. Â But the quote shows that doing the same thing for 9 years doesn’t mean you’ve gained 9 years of experience. Â It really made me stop to think how many years of experience do I have. Â I’ve been working for around 20 years and in that time, can I count close to 20 years experience? Â Or were there times I did get on the comfortable road and cruise on auto-pilot. Â Knowing how much I have to talk to myself to stop at the bank on the way home instead of just going home, I have a hunch it isn’t 20 years.
So how do we avoid falling into 1 year of experience 9 times? Â You have to step out of your comfort zone. Â Take along a GPS, which in this case means a Great Person System or Great Publication Source or whatever, so you don’t have to navigate it alone, but be sure to go somewhere you haven’t been before. Â That doesn’t mean all the time. Â You don’t have to have 1 year of work equal one year of experience because the reality is you know how to solve some problems in the best possible way already. It would be silly to go another way in those situations. Â And clients are paying you for that knowledge. Â But be sure to gain experience on a regular basis.
What do you think of recording those experience-building moments for a month or so? Â Could give you great insight into your own development and what you bring to the table. Â And then you can have your own moment to stop everything.