Step #1: Bring to room-temp
Take your meat out of the fridge about 20 minutes before cooking so the meat can 'temper.' Tempering ensures even cooking. If you put cold meat on a hot pan it just won't cook well.
Step #2: Preheat a clean skillet
Cast-iron is great for this step. Preheat your skillet on high, medium-high, or medium, depending on your stove. You're going for a temperature that will create a nice brown, but that won't blacken the meat. Our stove cooks best on 6 out of 10. This may take a bit of trial-and-error for you to get it just right. Make sure there are no remnants of oil on your pan (other than a good 'seasoning' if it's cast-iron) because you don't want it to burn.
Step #3: Season and prep the meat
Season one side of the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Spread a teaspoon or so of butter, lard or coconut oil on that same side, which will make the meat and the butter touch the pan at the same time and prevent the butter from burning. When cooking uneven pieces of meat, such as fish filets or chicken breasts, cut off the thinner pieces so they can be removed from the pan earlier than the rest.
Step #4: Pan-fry
Place the meat in the pan butter-side down. Now leave it alone in the pan for 3 minutes so it can brown nicely.
Step #5: Flip it
Flip the meat and brown it for 2 minutes on the second side. If you're cooking a 1" thick beef or lamb steak to rare perfection, remove it from the pan now. For pork, chicken or fish turn down the heat about half way and continue cooking for 1-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat.
Step #6: Rest
Always let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes to reabsorb the juices into the meat. If you cut it too early the juices will spill out onto your cutting board, leaving the meat dry and lacking in flavor. It's worth the wait to rest the meat while you sip your wine!