If you’re American you probably know who Jerry Rice is. He’s an American Football player – and one of the most successful wide receivers the game has ever seen. If you look up the all-time stats for Touchdowns and Receiving Yards you’ll see Rice is at the top.
And not just by a bit either. In Touchdowns, the differential between Rice and the number two on the list (Emmett Smith) is nearly 20%. In Receiving Yards, the differential between Rice and the number 2 on the list is nearly 40%.
So you’d probably think that Rice was one of those individuals who was just super talented at his chosen discipline? (In the same way that Tiger Woods is ‘just’ super-talented at golf. Or that Roger Federer is ‘just’ super-talented at Tennis. And so on).
And that he was always super-talented at American Football.
Here’s a fact you may not know about Rice:
The Year Rice Turned Pro He Was Passed Over by 15 Teams In The Draft
That’s right – Jerry Rice was so freaking good when he left college that 15 teams passed him over and selected someone else.
Now, how can that be? I mean, this guy is streets ahead of everyone else in terms of career stats – just last year he was chosen by the NFL’s own TV station as the Number 1 Football player of all time.
And yet he wasn’t the first pick in the draft the year that he moved to pro football. Hell, he wasn’t even the second or third pick.
He was 16th.
And the reason that he was 16th pick was that his speed wasn’t that great. And speed is generally considered one of the attributes that a wide receiver has to have.
So How Did Rice Go From 16th Pick in The Draft To Number 1 Of All Time?
Here’s what he did: he focused on the core competencies that a wide receiver needed to do to be successful.
Those competencies are in game order:
- 1) To run precise patterns as dictated by the offensive play book
- 2) Evade defenders who were trying to prevent him getting the ball
- 3) Out jump the defenders to catch the ball when it was thrown
- 4) Outmuscle the defenders when they tried to strip the ball away from him
- 5) Outrun the defenders and make for the Touchdown area.
With the help of his coaches he designed routines that enabled him to work on just those areas. And Rice was one of those guys who revel in time at the coalface, who revel in longhours of sheer, bloody-minded practice.
His routines were so tough that when anyone wrote to the 49ers asking for details of them, the Club would reply that they were secret and couldn’t be revealed. But the real reason was that they were scared that people would injure themselves if they tried to copy Rice.
Some of Rice’s fellow 49ers tried training with him from time to time – none could keep up with him. Indeed some were physically sick trying to match Rice’s practice time.
That’s how Rice went from 16th pick the year he went pro, to Number 1 of All Time.And we can take three lessons from Rice and apply them to our online businesses.
Lesson #1 – Identify Areas Where Core Competency Is Needed
Core Competencies are the skills that you need to use every day in your online business. And they will differ for different business models – in the same ways that Rice’s drills were different from Joe Montana’s (one of the quarterbacks he played with).
So it’s crucial that you identify what the core competencies are that you need for your particular business model. They might include any or all of the following: Content Creation (in either written format, audio format, or video format), Design Elements (whether website design, graphic design for Info Products and Websites), Copywriting, Product Creation, Marketing, or any of a dozen more areas.
What’s fundamental is that the activities you identify as areas of Core Competency are activities that your online business has to have to truly excel. And what’s equally fundamental is that you can identify activities that whilst marginally helpful, aren’t a good ROI for the time spent. (This is, of course, the 80:20 principle in action)
Lesson #2 – Devise Exercises to Master Those Core Competencies
If you do this step then I guarantee you that in most markets you’ll outstrip 95% plus of your competition over time. Just about none of your competitors are doing this – so pay close attention.
Once you’ve identified the activities that form your core competencies – then start getting better at them. Don’t just DO them, start actively getting better. If writing content for your website is crucial, then learn to write better. If you want to write sales letters for people, then work on your Copywriting. Get better at it.
And be ruthless about continuing to get better at whatever these areas you’ve identified are. Find teachers. When you’ve outgrown a teacher, move onto the guy who taught your teacher. And move on up the chain. Commit to learning more – this approach will take you from just another player in your field, to the upper percentiles of your market.
It will take time, but it will happen. How do I know? Because learning is hard, and few people have the discipline to keep getting better. Think back to Jerry Rice – 16th in his draft year, Number 1 of all time. It didn’t happen overnight – but the rewards WILL come.
One caveat – when you’re learning one of your core competencies, don’t do it in an academic environment divorced from the real world. As you’re getting better you should be using your skills on your business – even as you strive to get better still.
That leads us to Lesson 3.
Lesson #3 – Implement Those Core Competencies
Remember the reason why you’re getting better at the areas of your core competencies. It’s so that your business will grow. It’s no good getting better at something if you don’t use it.
So make sure you’re implementing the learning you are doing.
There are two solid reasons for this. One, the learning will be solidified by the immediate use in ‘the real world.’ And two, you’ll get feedback. Some of that feedback will help you judge the effectiveness of the training you’re undertaken and allow you to adjust your learning programmes immediately.
Most people take feedback personally – feedback is never personal, and should be used as a mechanism that helps you get better still. That way you can turn every negative into a positive in some way.
If you do these three things – your online business WILL grow along with your expertise in your areas of core competency.
Taking a step back from your business and identifying the areas that really make the difference to your business – and then focusing on getting better in those areas will make your online business more effective.
The steps needed are:
- 1) Identify the areas of core competency
- 2) Develop a training program to get better in those areas
- 3) Put ANY improvements in your skills to immediate use in your business.
Remember Jerry Rice – 16th at draft, number 1 of all time. This is the process he used. It worked pretty well for him – it can work just as well for you.
The Next Step
Start by identifying the areas of core competency in your business. When you’ve done that, you know what to do.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Remember, I answer every comment.