Savvy. Competent. Knowledgeable. Well-versed. Polished. Credible. Expert. Proficient. Finesse. Prowess. None of these things come without time or without practice. You can build your level of competency at something by taking a course, but it still doesn’t mean you’re competent.
I’m starting a 10 week Biggest Loser competition tomorrow and it got me thinking about all of the other weight loss attempts I’ve made in my life. My first successful attempt was with Weight Watchers back somewhere around 2002/2003. Following their points system, I dropped about 35 lbs. Through the return of my old eating habits and some not-so-pleasant life experiences, it crept back on. I figured I’d try Herbal Magic next. This was 2004. I had some success there, but kept expecting their magical pills to do more of the work than I was willing to do at the time. Now, there’s no magic pills, there’s no points systems. There’s just me and my eating and exercise habits. Why? Because I know what to do. I just haven’t done it yet.
Stay with me, I do have a point. How many times have you gone to a conference or taken a course to find your world is blown away with all the brand new info and knowledge you’ve just gained? If it’s your first time seeing the material, probably a ton. If it’s a conference for the industry you’re employed in, I’m willing to bet you’re happy if you can even pick up 3 new takeaways. More often than not, we sit there thinking, “Yeah, yeah. I KNOW this stuff already.” Sure you know it. But have you applied it yet?
I know all of the steps I should be taking to fit into my old jeans again. You can sure bet I haven’t been doing them. How can you tell? Well… I’d be wearing my old jeans. But just because I “know” what I “should” be doing, doesn’t mean I’m knowledgeable in the subject. Again, how can you tell? I’m not wearing my old jeans. I haven’t put it to practice… yet.
Watch for people claiming any of the words I’ve listed above. Especially if you know nothing about whatever it is they’re trying to teach you or sell you on. There are plenty of folks out there who aren’t walking the talk, but are happy to be leaving with your moolah anyway. Ask what kind of results they’ve had. Long term results. You should be confident that whatever they will be teaching you is sustainable over the long-term. We all know how well fad diets work. Whether it’s a course on business or marketing (particularly social marketing), a new skill you’re trying to pick up, techniques to improve your performance (mind in gutter or not), do yourself a favour and do your due diligence. Question their savviness, competency, knowledge, well-versedness, polishing, credibility, expertise, proficiency, finesse and/or prowess. And, if it’s something you already “know,” don’t waste their time. Get your butt in gear, apply what you know first and then head back for help. Who knows? With all that practice, maybe you’ll be the one at the head of the class.