Anybody who believes that the business landscape is the same as it was in the ‘old days’ has their head well and truly buried in the 20th‐century sand. There is an evolution going on that is affecting the business world and how we lead and manage within it.
We are all being forced to rethink how we behave and what we do. The changes of greater society — changes in generations, gender dynamics and technology — are leading a shift in business. This evolution isn’t about to stop any time soon and if we think the intelligence and the results we have achieved now are enough to survive – they are not.
We have to continuously invest in self-mastery to remain relevant and ahead of the curve. Mastery is the strategy of growth. Mastery is the strategy of evolution.
Remember when you were a child and you were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
In a Purdey’s drink promotional video, UK actor Idris Elba asks adults this exact question – “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He asks why do we stop believing that we can achieve anything we want? When, he asks, do we decide to stop moving towards our dreams and instead choose to stay still, to plateau, to rest on our laurels, to stop questioning – because well this is it isn’t it?
We stop learning and growing in our careers, our businesses, our relationships, our leadership style. We sit in the comfort zone of what we know. We push back on suggestions from others. We close our ears to opportunities and ignore what others may see in us. And, at it’s worse, we place blame for our lack of movement not on ourselves but on those around us who actually care about our progress. Staying still in the safety zone of what we know, the expected acknowledgement of success, of doing exactly what people expect us to do – well that’s just safe.
Investing in self-mastery is part of becoming what YOU want to be when you grow up. It is a commitment to continuous development, the improvement of thinking, the willingness to regularly become the student and allow others to teach.
We need to continuously push ourselves to know more, to keep growing and learning. We need to keep evolving and developing. We need to keep working on the mastery of our own expertise.
There is no doubt that this place of possibility is an unknown and scary one. There is no doubt there is risk in the pursuit of mastery. Mistakes could be made, our insecurities exposed, our thinking proved wrong. We may even be on show, warts and all.
But what if instead of fearing the journey of mastery we embraced it fully with both hands? What if we acknowledged that with the challenge comes the opportunity to learn more, to become even better?
And if we can surround ourselves with the right teachers along the way – somehow things surely are that little bit safer.
Harvard Professor, Linda Hill said,
“You can’t think of something new unless you are being pushed to think in new directions, and you can’t do that unless you are engaging with people who have different viewpoint”.
So find the teachers that are going to help you grow-up. Embrace their expertise, allow them to teach you knowledge and mastery and choose to be open to learning more.
Become the student again and allow your teachers to guide you through the murkiness of the unknown. Because you never know, when you come out the other side you may finally find yourself becoming exactly who you wanted to be when you grow up.
And surely that’s a great place to be.