Excelling Among the Best of the Best

by Scott Sery on July 16, 2013

Best of the BestNot too long ago I wrote to you about how to become the best of the best at your company.  There were just a few steps that it seems most people miss, and really it just boils down to being extremely knowledgeable (yes, reading about work outside of work), applying that knowledge to be one step ahead, and work your tail off.  Doing so will help you get noticed and you will rise to the top of the ranks because most people are, quite frankly, lazy.  They expect things to be handed to them.  So your competition is not fierce, but if you want to rise to the top of those who are willing to go the extra mile, you will have to take it one step further.

Have you ever noticed that there are relatively few general practitioner doctors?  When you go into the walk-in clinic you will usually see one.  They will often give you a quick diagnosis and then send you on to see a specialist.  That specialist has discovered a niche in the medical field that he loves to do, and has become an expert at it.

Have you ever noticed that the “Mr. Fix-it” guy makes a decent living, but he rarely excels to the top?  He is a jack of all trades and can do almost anything well, but he is not great at anything.  The specialist on the other hand, like electricians, plumbers, tile-layers, etc. (proper licensing aside), can charge a premium because they know their trade and they know it well.

Notice the pattern?  It applies to every job out there regardless of the industry.  For me, I work in the financial services field.  My boss is the office “life specialist” and he is the go-to guy for all life insurance questions and needs.  I have a co-worker who specializes in Bank Owned Life Insurance (for the higher ups at banks).  He only makes a few sales per year, but he earns hundreds of thousands of dollars for his work.  For years these two have been pushing for someone to take the role of “disability specialist” and someone else to take on the “investment specialist” position and every nuance of the industry to have a specialist.  If you truly want to excel, and you truly want to be seen as an expert in your industry, you need to choose a specialty.  Stop being a generalist, and narrow down what you like to do, the narrower the better.

Once you have chosen your specialty, the same concepts as the last article apply.  Read everything you can get your hands on.  Attend seminars, webinars, and meet with other industry experts.  Apply that knowledge to your company, work your tail off, and stay one step ahead of your boss.  Not only will you be rewarded with upward movement, you will be rewarded financially as well.  Specialists always make more than generalists.

Specializing is seen in every industry imaginable; that means there are areas in yours in which you can specialize.  Take some time to look into where you can focus your efforts, and get started on your path toward success.

Are you a specialist?  How have you worked that to furthering your career?

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Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website Sery Content Development
  • Justin @ The Family Finances

    I totally agree. Specialization is very important at work. When you become an expert in a certain field, it makes you more valuable. I strive to work hard and really learn about topics that nobody else seems to have mastered.

    • Scott Sery

      This is a great point, being a specialist in a field loaded with specialists won’t help you nearly as much as choosing that niche that others seem to have neglected.

  • I fully agree and one has to be Master of one and Jack of None but usually people go other way Jack of all, Master of none.

  • Common Cents Wealth

    You bring up a great point. People always want a “specialist” to help them. I have found my specialty at work, but I’ve learned that I don’t really like it too much. The good thing is that I’m in the position to move soon and try to find another specialty.

  • I mastered a very specific software at my last job and it would open me lots of doors if I wanted to work in an office again. Even when I left the job I had some consulting offers. The more specific your skill the better.

  • Monica @MonicaOnMoney

    Great topic for this article and something I often try to analyze since I’m very competitive. Amazing how sometimes all it takes is some hard work!

    • hard work gets you a long ways in this world. 🙂

      • Monica @MonicaOnMoney

        Absolutely! And it’s amazing how hard work will set you apart

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