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New skills are everywhere, if you look for them

The best way to become more valuable in business or in life is to learn new skills. The best way to learn a new skill is to try new things and learn as you go.

A few months ago I decided to take on a project that I had no idea how to accomplish when I set out my goal.

I wanted to write a book.

I knew nothing about being an author or what it actually takes to write a book. I am still very far off from being an expert, but I have more skill and knowhow than when I first set my goal.

Step 1: Making your goal accessible. I wanted to find the smallest barrier to entry and take modest steps down that path. Looking for small, actionable steps kept me moving toward the bigger goal without feeling overwhelmed.

I asked myself: What was the quickest, easiest way for me to become a published author with a book of my very own? The obvious answer was to write and publish a short ebook for Amazon Kindle. So that’s exactly what I did.

In one afternoon I had done some basic research to learn if creating an ebook for Kindle was in my wheelhouse. It was. (And it’s probably in your wheelhouse too)

Step 2: Doing the work. To write the ebook, I picked two things that I was very focused on at the time, those being fishing and stoic philosophy. To call it a niche topic would be an understatement. The topic could have been anything really, but combining these interests was a good way to make something unique with ideas that were fresh in my mind. Again this kept my barriers to entry very low, and kept my project moving at a fast pace.

I read through my books by stoic philosophers and adapted their musings to relate to the experiences of fishermen. This took a little abstract thought, but it was easy enough to write about and organize for my purposes.

Step 3: Putting your work out there. With the ebook written and organized, I then had to create some artwork for the cover, converted the book content to the proper file type, and uploaded everything to my Kindle Publishing account. I picked a price and BOOM within a few minutes my book was published and for sale in the Kindle Store. (See it here!)

Is the book good? Hell yes! Buy it now! Do it! (Click the link, its free for Kindle Unlimited users!)

Kidding, of course. Let’s just say I don’t see it hitting any best seller lists any time soon.

My initial goal was to publish a book. My result was self-publishing an ebook for Amazon Kindle.

This is how I look at the project:

  • Did I fail at reaching my goal? Yeah, kind of.
  • Would I call it a masterpiece? No, not at all.
  • Did I create something and learn a new, valuable skill? Yes and yes!
  • Can I still return to my initial goal and write a real book someday? Absolutely.

I learned all the basic skills on what it takes to publish an ebook in the Kindle Store. I now feel comfortable helping out friends, colleagues, and anyone else who might need some skill or direction in self-publishing their own ebook. I’m still no expert, but I know more than people that have never tried it before.

This brings me back to my initial claim: New skills are everywhere if you look for them.

You may fall short of your goals or have to get creative with how they play out. However, the process of working toward a goal guides us to gain new skills. Not knowing something is an invitation to learn a new skill.

You’re not required to spend lots of money on months of schooling to gain a new skill set. It does require being open to trying, and sometimes failing, to accomplish your goals.

The byproduct of moving in the direction of a set goal is gaining new skills along the way, and gaining new skills will make you valuable.