Monday, May 19, 2014

To Become A Master, Study A Master

Very few (if any) people can claim that they reached the pinnacle of their careers without having learned something from someone. Sometimes we set out to learn from a leader who has already done what we intend to do with our lives or careers, and other times we “accidentally” learn by observing someone who has had an impact on us.

As my first three months of Mastery school comes to a close, I’ve already purposely studied Yanni, David Foster, and Randy Jackson (I would have rather studied Korn, The Foo Fighters, and Lady Gaga, but it was hard to justify considering them as “masters” of composition).

Each of those that I actually did study had several common traits, but the three that I think are most important are these:

1.     They all knew at an early age that music / entertainment was their given passion.
2.     They believe that creating something is the very essence of human existence.
3.     They work tirelessly at their efforts.

These are great lessons to learn, for sure.  But what do we learn from those around us that also help shape our lives and careers? Sometimes we unknowingly gather tidbits of information from people and tuck them away, and they are recalled only because of our current circumstance. 

In an interview that I conducted on April 18th, 2014, entitled “Interview and Insight: A Senior Executive's View On Leadership”, I was reminded that we can learn from everyone around us, not just those in positions of authority over us. There are “masters” all around us if we pay attention.

Here is my simple example.  A younger relative of mine was assumed to be going nowhere.  A scrawny, shaggy guy that didn’t seem to care an ounce about what people thought of him. That was exactly the mastery trait that he brought to the table, but no one, including myself, understood it.  He went from the nerd who sold his lunches in high school (while creating quite the savings account for himself) into a master mechanic who can build a car from the ground up, graduated college with honors, and is well on his way to owning his own business in his mid-twenties. In the mean time, he also managed to outpace the rest of our musically talented family by becoming the greatest guitar player on either side!

To become a master, you should study one (or several). However, don’t limit your search for a master in the traditional way.  They are all around us, and with just a bit of attention and less judgment, you can find them.

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