Are you stuck at the same level? Is your life, income and achievements similar to your friends? No matter how hard you try, do you find that you cannot find a way to break through to the next level.
I have been stuck at various levels during different stages in my life. On numerous occasions I felt that there was a glass ceiling and I would never break through to the next level of achievement or happiness. This glass ceiling is perceived in the mind. It is not real even though it feels like it is.
Five characteristics have helped me throughout my life to be happy and achieve things.
i) I always try my best in anything I do
ii) I am always looking to learn from people around me and from my negative experiences
iii) I read a lot of books by people I admire or on subjects I want to learn
iv) I am grateful for everything I have and all the people around me.
v) I am honest with myself and everyone else.
I developed these characteristics when I was very young even before I can remember. They must have come from my parents and early school teachers.
How do you get to the next level?
Try these 5 tips and see if you can break through and get to the next level.
1. Write an article or a paper that people at the next level will appreciate and admire. This will get you noticed by people at a higher level.
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing” Benjamin Franklin
One of the things that got me noticed by academics when I was in industry was that I wrote articles and papers that were practical based on my industrial experience and investigations. I wrote an article in Royal Society of Chemistry trade magazine then named “Chemistry in Britain” titled “Engineering the future with lasers”. I received numerous phone calls from academics from all over the UK.
My most productive research partnership is with Prof Mark Jackson from Purdue University in the USA. How did this collaboration start? I wrote an article in “Materials World”with the title “Gem of a Surface” based on research we were doing on the chemical vapour deposition of diamond films. Mark rang me and asked if he could visit me. I was delighted and when he came he brought some micro drills and asked if we could coat them for him. We coated them and he tested them and we wrote few papers together at first. When Mark moved to America he asked if we could continue collaborating and again I was delighted at his request and interest. My connection with Mark catapulted me from a scientist who was known in the North-West of England to someone known on the international stage. We co-chaired international conferences, wrote books and host workshops.
We wrote several books together and then we got noticed by the really top scientists in the world. The forewords to these books were written by world’s eminent authorities and noble prize winners. This took us to an even higher level.
This illustrates the power of writing to get to the next level. Learn to do it well. Practice and you will get better and improve your skill and consequently level.
2. Join a body or society that brings you in contact with people at a higher level.
I also applied for prestigious membership of Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Materials at the level of Fellow. I read somewhere “go for the best first, second best is always available. I skipped normal membership and applied for the highest level of Fellow. I was asked to attend an interview to be awarded Fellow of Institute of Materials in 1998. Writing FIMM and FRSC elevated me to the status of being an established authority in the field, someone who had made significant contribution to the profession.
3. Join groups with people in them who were at a higher level. Their mere presence will help elevate you.
4. Communicate with people in higher networks. This is easy now you can access almost anyone by email.
I wrote to people in government, advisors to presidents, prime ministers and eminent scientists. Most of them wrote back and offered their advice. They sensed my sincerity and reached out to me and offered guidance and encouragement. I have obtained several posts in my career where I was head hunted by people I communicated with by email. I try my best now and do the same for younger people trying to get to the next level.
“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed” Napoleon Hill
5. Speak at conferences, workshops and meetings of people in higher levels. Rehearse well and prepare the best you can and offer some unique insights. When you deliver well at these meetings then you will be welcomed into their circles.
When I was working at VSW Scientific before I was an academic I spoke at prestigious universities. I spoke at Liverpool, Salford, Oxford and Cambridge Universities on molecular beam scattering. I had unique knowledge about these systems due to working at the company and designing uniques systems and experiments.
“Aiming for the moon and missing is better than aiming for the ditch and hitting it”
Don’t feel there is something wrong with the level you are at, everything is fine at your level. If you have big dreams and goals then you will want to transcend several levels to achieve what you want. Don’t forget your friends take them with you on an exciting journey moving from one level to another in the elevator of life. There is great merit in aiming for the top.