Most people want to take shortcuts; however, the more thorough your preparation, the greater the likelihood you will have success. Preparation is essential to having confidence in yourself no matter what setting you are in—this will build your confidence when you are in high-pressure situations such as interviewing for a job or dealing with higher-level bosses.

It takes time to build your skills to a deep level of mastery. It does not happen overnight. With practice, you will build deeper awareness of yourself. You will develop greater confidence. You will demonstrate your emerging growth in mastering your new skill.

1) Daily efforts are essential for success

If you aspire to leadership in any area of your career, you need to invest time in each of the many components required to be effective. By engaging in your practice daily, you create a more manageable method to prepare yourself for success.

Break your skill development down into smaller components so you can practice your progressions in more manageable chunks. This is especially true with all the demands we have on our time and attention.

Each day you must determine at a micro level what you need to do to be prepared for your advancement to your next level of success. How you then practice those required skills is your preparation.

2) Build your skills before you need them

The saying “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” is so true. If you’re not prepared, you won’t have any confidence in yourself when the opportunity to move forward toward your dreams presents itself.

To be prepared to progress to the next level, you need to look ahead. Pay attention to what others at that level are doing. Ask yourself, “What else is going to be needed from me as I move up to my next level of success?”

You can practice your skill development anywhere—at home, at school, in your job, in a church group. You can even practice while you are interacting with your children, shopping at the grocery store or coaching soccer.

Finding opportunities to practice new skills are all around you. You should plan to practice your new skills both inside and outside of work.

3) Volunteering accelerates your preparation for success

You may think you are too busy to volunteer for a leadership role in an association, community group or non-profit organization. Work and family responsibilities likely leave very little room in your schedule for taking on any kind of outside leadership role. Yet this view limits your opportunities to accelerate your potential for success. The truth is, engaging in volunteer leadership experience can have an exceptional impact on your entire career.

By agreeing to serve in any leadership role, you will have an opportunity to practice skills and help you gain exposure to new skills needed for long-term career success. Confidence comes to you faster when you practice in a lower risk environment when you volunteer.

Your confidence will compound because you will have multiple opportunities to develop your expertise. Volunteering allows you a venue to learn to work more effectively with different generations. You will expand your network of contacts, as well.

4) Working through learning curves

As you build your skills, you will have learning curves. There will be times when you’re going to fumble and bumble. Mistakes happen to everyone. You must always be willing to learn from the experience. No matter what the skill, you will need to practice.

Sometimes you’ll blow it. It’s okay. Chalk it up to a learning curve. Resolve to do better next time. Don’t let a mistake or lack of expertise shatter you. Learn from it.

You cannot take big leaps toward success unless you first take small leaps to build your confidence. The success you learn in those leaps compounds over time. By repeatedly testing yourself, and by preparing yourself for your next opportunity to win, you’ll be ready because you’re practicing and you are progressing in your skill development. These two confidence keys are now intertwined.

Always have an ongoing focus as you practice. This will deeply embed your skills so you can call on them with growing ease every time you need them. Then you can work on mastering them to develop your skills to a highly refined degree of finesse.

Consider how you will prepare for your next level of success. To consistently move forward, you need to intentionally develop new skills and probe for deeper insights of understanding as the issues you address become more complex. The search to understand what it will take to propel you toward your next leadership challenge never stops. Each one is a progression for you.

Jill J. Johnson is the president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services and author of the bestselling book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted more than $4 billion worth of decisions. www.jcs-usa.com