A Guru State Of Mind

By Chris Newman •  Updated: 02/12/14 •  4 min read
A Guru State Of Mind

I Finally Did It!

I’ve thought long and hard about what epic topic I would cover for my very first blog post here on TheSpreadsheetGuru, and through much internal debate, I have decided to throw out covering any part of the Microsoft Office Suite programs for this first post.  I came to this conclusion not because I couldn’t decide which topic I wanted to geek out on, but because I thought it was very important to step back and reflect on my goals for maintaining this blog in the first place.

I’ve been working in a corporate environment going on three years now and I can’t begin to describe how much I have learned through these first three years.  I was lucky enough to land a position where I had opportunities to move around my company and integrate myself into various analytical roles from accounting to financial planning (I've held 5 separate roles to date).  I have also had the opportunity to interact with a vast amount of people with tremendously experienced careers yet the one thing I noticed about most of my colleagues was the lack of moderate to advanced computer efficiency skills that are so very vital in today’s fast-paced business world.  

Why You Need To Be A Guru

Over the last 10 to 15 years the ability to become an expert in a given area is really differentiated between those who take the time to learn and those who don’t.  With the rise of the juggernaut that is the internet, an inflow of information emerged that almost everyone in the world has access to.  I could literally decide I want to be an expert in creating guitar amplifiers and have a dedicated and authoritative website up in weeks if I was determined enough.  The information is just that easy to get to nowadays. 

With this concept in mind, once I saw the importance of Excel and the lack of advanced knowledge within my company, I made it my mission to figure out everything there was to know about the program.  While I would not have considered myself an expert within weeks, I certainly passed myself off as one just by understanding how to operate the program efficiently and knowing where certain settings were located within the program.  I soon grew to have a reputation (that I probably didn’t deserve at the time) of being the Excel Guru of the floor.  Anyone and everyone from fellow analysts to directors of departments knew that I (not IT!) was the person to go to if they had questions about Office and that sure helped get my name out across the company.  Becoming a guru opened up so many opportunities for me as I was placed on special projects because of my expertise or I was courted by managers to join their department, all this happened because I took the time to study a worthwhile skill that my company was missing.

What Kind of Guru To Be?

There were lots of complicated programs that my company used that I could have tried to become an expert in, however, I choose Microsoft Office because of 3 things:

  1. There was a lack of advanced users or experts to go to
  2. Every single person throughout the company used these programs
  3. There is a ton of content on the internet covering the Office Suite

I could have picked a smaller program that no one really understood how to use fully but most of those programs were department-specific and there tended not to be a whole bunch of information about them on the web.  What made Microsoft Office even more enticing was the fact that pretty much EVERY company or organization uses Office on a daily basis and that lent a bonus benefit of improving my marketability as an analyst to prospective companies.

Key Takeaways

All in all, I obviously created this blog in order to share my knowledge and help you become a Microsoft Office guru.  I truly believe mastering these programs is the best thing you can do for yourself and this knowledge will lead to so many great opportunities in the future.  But with this first blog post, I have to wonder if some of you reading this are not based in a Microsoft-centric environment.  Maybe your company uses Adobe products on a daily basis or Google products.  The main takeaway I want you to hone in on is that there are endless opportunities out there for you to pursue, you just have to open your eyes and have a Guru State of Mind!

Keep Learning

Chris Newman

Chris Newman

Chris is a finance professional and Excel MVP recognized by Microsoft since 2016. With his expertise, he founded TheSpreadsheetGuru blog to help fellow Excel users, where he shares his vast creative solutions & expertise. In addition, he has developed over 7 widely-used Excel Add-ins that have been embraced by individuals and companies worldwide.