Sunday, March 8, 2015

Secrets of the Successful: I.M.A.G.E. - "M" is for what?

I have recently shared to you that the secret of the successful is I.M.A.G.E. And by now, if you have been following my blog, you know what "I" means, Innovation. If you haven't read it, click here.

Now, I am going to reveal to you what the next letter means, "M" is for Mastery.

Committing yourself to mastery at what you do, mastery at your craft - whether your craft is selling staplers or educating children - is the only standard to operate under in these change-rich times. Anything less and you'll be left behind. The comedian Steve Martin said it really well when he advised, 'Be so good that people cannot ignore you.'

Look, if people you work with and the people you serve only like you, you'll probably not last that long in this age of intense competition. You want people to love you. To adore you. To worship the very ground you stand on because you are so staggeringly good at what you do. And the only standard that will get you there is the standard of Mastery.

Now, there's a certain structure. The Washington Monument. They said it's an architectural marvel! People said that the structure visionary could not be built. But the architect who imagined it, Robert Mills, got the job done against all the odds. Leaders get the job done - no matter what. 

And so, I hope you're going to find a photo of Washington Monument. Make that photo a daily reminder to pay zero attention to the chattering voices of the naysayers and to simply walk out into my days devoted to working at mastery.

I will now tell you to be a FMOB!

A FMOB? What does that mean? 

FMOB is someone who is devoted to being the First, the Most, the Only, and the Best. FMOB. 

The starting point of moving to mastery is to raise the expectations you set for yourself. Just make the commitment to be the first, the most, the only, and the absolute best. Expect more from yourself than anyone around you could ever expect from you. Play in the big leagues. Just fly up into the thin space of rare air. Most people set such low standards for themselves. They aim so low - and then, sadly, reach that goal. And so you'll find that you don't have a lot of company out on the extra mile.

It's easier to work at mastery than at ordinary.

There's a lot less competition on the extra mile because so few people even believe they can play there - many fewer commit to spending their careers there. And so, as you say, it actually becomes easier to be there.

I guess most of us are too afraid to set loft, ambitious and then fail.

But why play the game if you're not in it to win it? I'd encourage you to set the standard of being BIW in the work you do and within the life you live.

What's BIW? 

BIW means Best in World! 

I suggest you ask the very powerful self-coaching question: "What would the person who is the best in the world at what I do be doing in this very moment?" Once you get the answer, immediately refocus yourself and get down to the business of doing only that which will create the largest results and the biggest impact. Your goal here, each and every day, is to be the best in the world at your craft of being what you are, may it be as a driver, janitor, security guard, teacher, nurse, accountant, lawyer, etc. And that's how you should continually move closer toward mastery.

Few things feel as good as the pride you feel on a job masterfully done. Doing world-class work is also part of the purpose of life. 

How so?

Work offers a daily platform to discover the leader within. It's a chance, every day, to reclaim more of the potential you've buried and to awaken the dormant relationship between the current you and your absolute best. It's an opportunity to express more of your latent creativity and a whole lot more of your precious humanity. And presenting more of the genius and brilliance you truly are to those around you so that, in your own special way, you help more people, is pretty much the main purpose of life. And that's why I suggest that doing world-class work is also part of the central purpose of life.

Work isn't at all something that is merely a vehicle to pass the time and pay bills. It is a gift. And a spectacular way to access your leadership best, and in so doing, not only become happier human being, but also to make the world a better place in the process.

Oh, I should also confirm - in case you have any doubt - that every one of us has the potential to be geniuses at what we do. Most of us just don't believe this truth. But beliefs are nothing more than thoughts we've repeated over and over until we've made them into personal truths. And the really sad thing is that every belief inevitably becomes a self-fulling prophecy. Whether you think something is possible or impossible, you'll most certainly be right. Because your belief determines your behavior. The real truth is that each one of us has pure genius within us. But we all set up these blocks between who we currently are and all we are meant to be. Blocks like our limiting beliefs about our abilities and barriers like all the daily distractions we fill our lives with that, in the end, amount to nothing. One of the best moves you can make is to methodically remove all the walls standing between you and your genius, which will lead to you becoming more intimate with your very best you.

A key element of the quest to be your leadership best is to become more connected to those moments where your natural genius most fully presents itself. Live for those moments and you'll begin to experience more of them. And by the way, if you really owned how awesome you are, you'd probably be in shock for days. All but the greatest among us have disowned the brilliance we house within ourselves and buried the creative giant that is our true nature. People don't work and live at average because they are average. The behave that way because they've forgotten who they truly are. They've actually bought into the false thoughts the people around them have taught them and started to perceive themselves as "un-special" and "non-genius." And because that's how they now view themselves, they now act in that way. Remember, you will never behave in a way that's inconsistent with your self-image. Your thought choices determine your performance results. Your mental architecture and the way you process outer conditions will elevate you to mastery or cause you to sink into mediocrity. So see yourself as capable of nothing less than brilliant!

Belief about your lack of 'awesomeness' and inability to play at mastery becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Successful people have successful thinking patterns and the best leaders run superb leadership habits. A number of studies have confirmed that it takes about ten thousand hours to become a master at something.

In an article in The Harvard Business Review entitled "The Making of an Expert," a powerful idea, a feature was on how top performers in fields ranging from athletics to music create their stellar results. It revealed that every world-class expert had one thing in common: they'd each invested approximately ten thousand hours polishing their skill. The learning point for us is that each of us has the potential to arrive at a place of mastery in the work we do. But it generally takes about ten thousand hours of focused effort and deliberate practice on a specific craft to reach BIW.

The world's best golfers have spent about ten thousand hours on their golfing performance to get to world-class at their game. The world's best scientists have immersed themselves in their subject for about ten thousand hours, and that devotion has made them appear so brilliant. The world's best artists have spent roughly ten thousand hours tightly concentrated on practicing their skills - and given that intensity of action, they reach the point where they plat at genius. So focus married with time produces mastery. We all, as Leaders Without a Title, have the ability to get to this seemingly unreachable place. Unfortunately, most of us not only disbelieve we can, but we also fail to put in the time required to do so.

If more people understood how great they could be, businesses, communities, and nations - organizations of every type - would operate at vastly superior levels of performance. Now here's the real thing: ten thousand hours in a normal life that involves sleeping and spending time with people and other such daily pursuits adds up to about ten years. So the ten-thousand-hour idea could just as easily be called the Ten-Year-Rule. You really need to focus on the particular job you want mastery at for about ten years. That's the little-known formula for genuine world-class success: ten years of focused effort and consistent practice. But how many people are willing to do that in this quick-fix world of ours? Everyone wants the rewards right now. Yet mastery takes time, effort and patience. And too many among us just don't make the commitment. Or they give up too early. And they wonder why they never became superstars in their work.


And rather than taking personal responsibility for their failure to do what it takes, they make excuses and blame things like their boss or the competitive nature of the industry they're in or the people they have to work with or the turbulent times around us.

Or they blame their parents or their histories or the weather. Interesting how human beings protect themselves - and in so doing, destroy themselves. The only weather that matters is the weather within you. And the only economy that matters is the economy between your two ears.

Ultimately, each one of us alone is responsible for how we respond to the environment we find ourselves in. We can choose to reply to every scenario we face at wow. Or we can retreat into average and stay stuck in the negative. And along with the excuses we tend to make, we also allow ourselves to get distracted by a million things that ultimately amount to nothing.

That's another tactic to avoid having to put in the focus and time to get to mastery. Procrastination is just another from of fear. Yet look at any pro athlete. They've spent the best hours of the best years of their lives making the sacrifices demanded by BIW. They got up early. They trained relentlessly. They practiced ferociously. While others watched television, they watched game tapes. While others ate pizza, they ate salads. While others were in warm beds, they were out running on cold days. But they were willing to do it. For their chance at greatness. To have a peek at their genius. And to realize more of their leadership best. Look at any superstar. Each of these people has one thing in common. They focused on getting really good at their craft for more than ten years. They paid the price that that success demands. They did whatever it took to get the job done. And so now the world calls them 'special' or 'gifted'. Not true at all! 

We all have that capability within us. Few of us have the awareness and then the discipline to exercise it. And so we coast through our lives mired in mediocrity. Pretty sad, huh? Very sad indeed!

Such a colossal waste of human talent. 

After reading all these information I hope you have by now seen your job, whatever it is, in a different view. And also remember that all these ideas need to be acted on instantly if you are interested in seeing excellent results. 

Ideas are ultimately worthless unless you activate them with focused and consistent action. The best leaders never leave the site of a good idea without doing something - no matter how small - to breath some life into it. Lots of people have good ideas. But the masters become masters because they had the courage and conviction to act on ideas. 

'A powerful idea is absolutely fascinating and utterly uselss until we choose to use it,' wrote Richard Bach. What really makes greatness is white-hot action around red-hot ideas. A genius idea alone has zero value. What makes it priceless is the quality of follow-through and the speed of execution around the genius idea. Actually, even a mediocre idea excellently acted on is more valuable than a genius idea poorly performed. Just starting something - whether that's new initiative that will better your business or extending a hand to a teammate you used to the hardest. But once you take it, it'll only get easier. And every positive step that follows sets yet another positive consequence into play. Just start whatever it is that you know you need to do to take your work as well as your life to where you know it can be. I call this concept the Courage of the Start. Starting truly is the hardest part. Beginning is half the battle. So that takes all your steps to drive momentum. Daily ripples of excellence - over time - become a tsunami of success. Every action has a consequence. Things start to move forward. Doors you didn't know existed begin to open for you. Success is so much a numbers game. The more action to take, the more results you'll see.

I remember reading that the space shuttle uses more fuel during its first three minutes after liftoff than during its entire voyage around the earth.

That first step truly is always the hardest. Because you are fighting the forces of gravity of your old thinking and habits. No human being likes change. We do love predictability. So anything new scares us and sets our internal systems into varying degrees of confusion and chaos. But you can't reach mastery unless you are always willing to take action to move things forward. A practical tool for you to use is what I call "The Daily 5." Imagine doing five little yet important focused acts every day to get you closer to your most important goals.

You could easily make five little steps forward every day!

That's the beauty of The Daily 5 concept. Everyone can. Big changes are scary. But anyone can complete five tiny goals in a day. And small daily improvements over time really do lead to stunning results. After a month that's about one hundred and fifty goals you've realized. And after twelve months, you've achieved over two thousand goals. Just imagine the level of confidence you'll have just twelve months from today if you achieved two thousand goals. Just imagine what your next twelve months will look like, not only in your work right now, but also as it relates to health, your relationships, and the other key areas of your life when you achieve two thousand little but focused and meaningful outcomes.

You deserve a successful and happy life. You really do deserve to work and live in a way that expresses the absolute best within you and makes you feel like you matter in the most wonderful of ways.

If you've learned something from this post, please stay tuned for more of the I.M.A.G.E. concept. Next post will be for "A". What is it? 

Also, if you think one person needs to read this, please share this to him or her. If more people needs to read this, you should share this on your social media accounts. I'd be thrilled to hear your feedback. Write your reply below. :-)


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