How long does it take to get good at something? To get as good as you possibly can?
Well it depends on lots of factors but what never ceases to surprise me is how many people underestimate the scope they have to improve at something that is important to them.
I ran my first cross country race in October 1980 and my fastest 10,000m in June 2008. Thats quite a time gap and lots of improvement, much of which I wouldn't have said was possible if you asked me at the time.
My first coaching was in the early the early 1990's (I didn't know I was coaching, I was just observing some of my team mates train when I was injured and offered them some feedback on their session and ideas for improvement). 25 years later and I still make plenty of coaching mistakes and get better as a result.
If after 3 or 4 years you think you are maxed out on your development think again. With acquiring new skills we often hit a plateau. Whether its in running, speaking a foreign language, managing people or drawing cartoons. Thats when its easy to think we have got as good as we can and further effort is only going to produce minimal reward. Its also the time to challenge ourselves to look for some new inspiration to push our skill level forward again.
Look at the people around you who have got as good as they can be. What have they done to keep improving when they have hit a plateau? Often its as simple as being consistent and patient. Breakthroughs in sport often come as big leaps forward after several years of consistent training.
Stick at, keep an open mind about just how good you can become and always be open to new ideas.