Extinction is not an option. Industry experts must remain relentlessly relevant, and that implies constantly up-skilling and upgrading. If we aren’t mildly embarrassed by our books, articles, YouTube videos and tweets from just a few years prior - “I’m so much better now!” - our evolution might not be moving quickly enough. 

Here are three areas in which you can challenge yourself to upgrade this week: 

1. Your Look: 

Could it be time for a more modern haircut? Perhaps a better fitting suit? Do the frames on those glasses still look modern, or are they beginning to date your look? Perhaps it’s time to consider something as major as having orthodontic work done, or perhaps it could be something as minor as swopping out those old shirts, which are now looking a bit old-fashioned, for something that’s up to speed. 

Presentation matters greatly, and it’s surprising how easy it is to fall prey to an outdated look. What one thing about your look could you update this week? 

2. Your Message: 

5 years ago, if you spoke and wrote articles on how to use social media, you were at the cutting edge of thought-leadership. Now, everyone does it. What’s new about your message? How have you taken the thinking in your particular arena one step further? Are you visibly doing something exciting and unique, or are you starting to sound like ‘another one of…’? 

What is the next step in the evolution of your message (which is the locus of your identity in the market)? 

3. Your Skills: 

When you are well on your way to becoming an industry expert, it’s easy to coast. It’s tempting to forego the difficult and time-consuming addition of new skills. But even the most minor improvements could take your game up a level. 

Perhaps it’s something as simple as reading a new book, or subscribing to an industry publication on your craft. Perhaps it’s something as thorough as personal coaching, or calling in an expert to review your performance. What one thing could you do, this week, so that when Friday arrives, you will know that you have taken a positive step toward enhancing your own abilities? 

One week. Three slight improvements. In conjunction, they equate to a significant investment in your total growth. They just might be the extra nudge you need to make you the greatest in your game. 


Douglas Kruger is a professional keynote speaker and author of several business books with Penguin, focusing on disruptive innovation and expert positioning. An inductee into the Professional Speaker Association's 'Hall of Fame,' he presents keynote talks all around the world. See Douglas in action at www.douglaskruger.co.za