Establishing your “Quick Win”
I remember when I first decided to pursue Professional Registration as an Engineer.
One of the reoccurring thoughts that continued to go through my head was that…
“I don’t know enough.”
I had been out of college for a while at that point, and the last time I even worked a differential equation, the Beatles were playing there last gig on the rooftop of the Apple Headquarters in London.
Alright, obviously a exaggeration, but the point being, as soon as we graduate college, the reality is we use very little of the theoretical knowledge we learn in school.
But here’s the fact I am here to lay out for you today…
Every single engineering professional you look up to, all of them…started where you are right now.
You may not think you know enough about Mechanical Engineering, or Civil Engineering, Or Electrical Engineering…or whatever discipline you are setting out to prepare for…
But that doesn’t matter…
It may feel right now that there are an overwhelming number of moving pieces at play, and that you have to know everything about all of them before you can move forward with taking on the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam.
The Truth is…any Real Engineer who has gone through this journey would tell you that’s a lie.
If we “Real Engineers” waited until we knew everything…well, there wouldn’t be any “Real Engineers” to be heard of.
It’s not that you don’t need to know about Hydraulics if you are a Civil Engineer or that you don’t need to know about Materials if you are a Mechanical Engineer.
You do need knowledge in all of the appropriate subject areas (but we didn’t put four years of hard work at University for no reason).
When you commit to taking the FE exam, knowledge in these areas begin to return as you spend more time in review.
Engineering is a special skill, it’s like riding a bike, once you learn the theories, they may fade, but they eventually will return after you commit time to restoring them.
But don’t get tripped up thinking that you need to know everything, or have been exposed to everything before you decide it’s time to make that application official.
It’s not about what you know right now, today, but what you will know after successfully completing the journey, and the rich opportunities that will naturally seep from it.
I preach tackling the FE Exam and taking on the journey of becoming a Professional Engineer head on because it’s relatively inexpensive (pennies compared to what I have seen it bring thousands of engineers), because it opens up a world of new opportunities in your career, and because if you are an engineering graduate, then you can do it, and do it NOW!
Learning the art of “just enough”
Any of us could go out and get a PhD in engineering, or whatever we want, and we still would not be an expert.
As much as you may desire being protege, we’re never going to learn or know everything…we’re never going to master everything.
But every successful “Real Engineer” and any other successful person that has the courage to be real with you would tell you that you need to focus on knowing “just enough”.
There is a long standing principle known as Pareot’s Law, which in a nutshell states that with almost everything in life, you’ll get most of your results from just a few key actions.
In the case of the FE Exam, we need to learn those key actions (tactical, mindset, material, etc), refine the use of them, and we will be golden.
Is it possible to perfect your discipline over time? Is it possible to keep refining and learning and grow beyond your original goals?
Absolutely. Lots of people do. But here’s the deal…you have to get moving first.
And how can you do that?
You need to establish a “Quick Win”
Research has shown us that the biggest barrier to successfully completing anything is just getting started.
It has been well documented that when individuals are presented with a large, complex project (studying for the FE Exam), they are more likely to simulate real productive work by focusing on small, mindless tasks to fill time.
Essentially, we tend to do anything but put some real focused effort in to what we really should be doing.
Does this Sound familiar?
Understanding our minds natural tendency to put off productive work…or let’s put it in more familiar terms…procrastinate, is the first step in really making some miracles happen in our own journey.
Whenever we head off towards a goal, regardless of what it is, we need to establish a “Quick Win” to help build our morale and give us a sense of achievement and enhanced momentum towards our ultimate goal.
Instead of focusing on fully preparing for the FE Exam, start small by simply applying for the exam, or setting up your study schedule that is focused on the specific subjects you need to study.
Whatever that “Quick Win” may be, just do it knowing that you will likely begin leveraging the natural benefits of incremental steps towards a larger goal.
This sense of achievement will aid in building your morale and give you enhanced momentum towards the ultimate goal of passing the FE Exam.
But ACTION is where all this theory turns in to reality, so here’s your next action steps…
How to take it further
Often when I first start working with an engineer preparing for these exams, generally I hear something like this:
“I am so overwhelmed, the range of this exam is unreal, I don’t even know where to start, or how to establish a schedule that is in line with the new exam specifications, and highlights the areas I should be focusing on to get the most out the time I have!”
We are going to take care of that Today…right now.
We developed a tool named the EITE Study Buddy, specially for you:
Download this file and unpack it to your desktop. Inside you will find two files, one titled “EITE Study Buddy” and the other titled “EITE – How to get Quick Win Now.”
Today is the day that you get past one of the most basic, yet daunting tasks of getting your journey started towards becoming Professional Engineer…
That being setting up a schedule you can be confident identifies where your focus should be.
Once you open this file, we are going to complete in 30 seconds what it takes some people to complete in weeks, or even months!
The schedule will not only outline precisely what you need to study for your specific discipline, but it will also track your progress along the way, giving you a constant metric to gauge your efficiency on.
You are going to love this simple, yet powerful tool.
Our goal today is to stop doing “small, mindless tasks to fill time” and put in some solid effort in making a move towards passing the FE Exam.
We will wrap in up today until next week. Do this homework, take the action, and the next time we meet, we will keep it going.
Justin Dickmeyer, PE