How to Move Up the Pay Scale

Posted by Todd Smith

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Formal education will get you a job, but then it’s up to you to master the little things that separate those at the top of the pay scale from those at the bottom.

While there may be an occasional exception, those at the top of the pay scale in every occupation bring the most value to the market for what they do.

Today’s lesson focuses on how you can move up the pay scale in your chosen profession. It is built on the foundation that your income is equivalent to the value you bring to the market.  If you want to increase your income, you must first increase your value.

Study Those at the Top

To learn how to reach the top in any discipline or job, the smartest thing you can do is study the attributes of those who came before you. What distinguishes them from everyone else? What skills have they mastered? How have they been able to achieve success?

At age 23 when I started my real estate career, I flew to Denver to meet with the nation’s top-selling Realtor.  He was so impressed with my desire to learn that he spent an entire day giving me advice.  I returned home and implemented the lessons he taught me. In my first year selling real estate, I earned over $250,000 and went on to become one of the country’s top-selling Realtors.

When I was asked to coach my son’s Little League team, I hired two former professional baseball players to coach me. Even though I had played Little League baseball and watched baseball on TV for years, I wanted to learn proper fielding and hitting fundamentals. I learned all I could, and with the help of another parent (Ron Thomson), we coached our team to a 20-0 record, winning by an average of 17 runs a game.

I applied the same strategy to developing Little Things Matter. I studied the top 10 bloggers on the internet and sought counsel from those who had expertise in this area. I examined all the little things that distinguish the top bloggers from all the rest and launched the blog in January 2010. In my third full month, Little Things Matter exceeded 20,000 visitors.

Here’s the bottom line: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be successful; you simply need to learn the activities and model the traits of others who have achieved similar goals. So if you want to advance up the pay scale in your chosen profession, you must learn from those at the top.

Make Your List

As you begin to study the people at the top of the pay scale in your profession, make a list of EVERY little thing they have done and are currently doing that has enabled them to become successful.

Here is the key: your goal is to make a list of 100 little things.  Don’t roll your eyes at this number.  If you want to be the best, then make a list of 100 little things.

When you stretch your mind to make a list of 100 things, you will observe things you would not otherwise notice. You will start to see the little things that really matter.  I can assure you they did not get to the top by doing 5, 10, or 21 things right.  You need to identify as many things as you can.

As you make this list, don’t just study one person. Study and learn from as many as you can.  It will soon become obvious what you need to do and who you must become in order to become a top performer in your field.

Here’s a Secret

Most of the people at the top of the pay scale are the very people who would love to help you.  Every person I have ever sought for advice and counsel found it fulfilling to pass on their wisdom and knowledge. And now this is one of my greatest joys.

I will bet you $100 that if you called the top three people in your profession, complimented them on their success, and asked for 30 minutes of their time to help you be the best at what you do, they will find the time to help you.  And so what if I am wrong and only two people agree to do so? Then learn from those two.

To do what I have described will require you to get outside your comfort zone. As I shared in The Uncomfortable Path to Success, you just can’t grow without feeling uncomfortable.  You can’t increase your income if you don’t FIRST increase your value, and your value won’t increase if you remain in your comfort zone.

Now you know the formula for achieving greater success in your selected career.  What will you do with this information?  Will you challenge yourself to step up your game and make the list of 100 little things you can do to reach the top of the pay scale? Or will you say “I know what I need to do,” blow off this lesson, and continue doing what you’ve always done?

The difference between those at the top of the pay scale and those below them is that those at the top do the little things the others aren’t willing to do.  Who are you?

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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