Success is a very nebulous concept. It can be many things and what it means for an individual can change over time. When you are young and ambitious it may mean a corner office, six figures, or buying a house. Over time and with changing circumstances, it can shift to something less tangible like peace, a meaningful relationship or good health. The thing is…we can easily get lost or caught up in the rat race and need to find our north. We need a compass to help line up our actions with something steady and sure.
A “masterful you” is someone who is a skilled, powerful, self-willed and consummate performer. Its not necessarily being an expert, but its being your best self and using your talent and wisdom to create a meaningful and purposeful life. Bringing your best self to each situation and opportunity requires being intentional and focused. You can use this simple model to assess what is needed and then focus on delivering that to the project or team you’re in at the time. It doesn’t have to be complicated; just step back and ask yourself what’s missing.
· Is it the what? Excellent leadership provides strategic direction. Do you have a clear vision of what the objective or mission is for your organization or project? You don’t have to have a title to be a leader. If everyone around you is floundering, step up and create a vision for the future. Paint a picture of what success could look like. Without vision, people perish and projects fail. Don’t wait for someone else to lead. You can do it.
· Is it the why? Effective management translates a vision to provide clarity on why you need to act now and how you will get from here to there. Good planning is good management. Map out what needs to be done to accomplish your goals and how long it will take. What resources will be required and who needs to be involved? Get input from others to ensure that its practical and realistic. Write it down and make it plain. Share the plan with everyone that needs to know so that you garner support and there is no confusion or duplication of effort.
· Is it the how? Good supervision motivates others. Planning is one thing but engaging others to help you get things done is critical. Very few things can be accomplished in a vacuum. We usually need help from others. The best way to convince others to help you is to figure out what’s in it for them. You may need to provide tools, guidance, coaching, rewards, etc.
· Is it the who? Productive employees get the job done. The main thing is getting alignment on roles and responsibilities or who’s doing what in your plan. At the end of the day, implementation of a strategy is all about execution. It’s the tactical application of your vision.
It’s been said that success is its own reward. However, it’s up to us to define what success looks like for each of us individually. Because the goal post is constantly changing, we need to hone our ability to make adjustments and adapt to the current environment. This requires being self-aware and attuned to the world around you.
To improve self-awareness, I journal and I stay open to feedback. It’s important to understand the perceptions others have of you so that you have a well-informed opinion of yourself and the ability to influence those perceptions if they are not aligned with your personal objectives. Other people’s perceptions can affect your ability to reach your goals and it doesn’t matter if you agree with them or not. You don’t know what you don’t know. So ask. Leaders need others to tell them what they don’t know not what they already know. You don’t need validation to know that you’re already great. You need insight to know how you can be better.
Stay attuned to the world around you by focusing on being present so that you can see and hear what’s being said. We live in a world full of distractions and we are pressured to multitask to be as productive as possible. However, distractions get in the way of learning and divides our attention. When we limit distractions we can identify clues to what may be changing and anticipate it. A manager once described a person’s strategic thinking capability by saying that they could “see around corners” and what I think they meant was that this person was so attuned to their environment that they could anticipate what was coming. Having this ability will set you apart from the masses who are only concerned with the here and now.
· Who are you when you are at your best?
· What are you doing? What skills and abilities are you using?
· Who agrees with you? How do you know?
· What is your top priority today? Does it need leadership? management? supervision? Or just individual productivity?
· What is one thing you can do to you improve your self-awareness?
· Consider your current environment and describe it. What do you see? What are you hearing? What change do you anticipate?
Becoming a more masterful you is a process. It starts with a choice to be your best self then working towards it with intentional steps each day.