Mastering Growth and the Spirit of Business

“But the disciplined self, moving among sense-objects with senses free from attraction and repulsion, mastered by the SELF, goeth to Peace”.  The Bhagavad Gita, 4th Edition, as stated in the Second Discourse, Line 64.

The 2019 Currie Leadership Development Program is open for registration and begins in February 2019.  This visionary program answers the question that all distribution company owners ask: “How do we maintain growth, develop new leaders, plan for succession, and evolve our distribution company into the next age?”  The Spirit of Mastery is the blueprint and it is the “oversoul” of the Currie Success Principles.  See “The Principles” below and see how they all come together for success:

  1. Audacity
  2. Vision and The Big Picture
  3. Focus and Purpose
  4. Strategy
  5. Continuous Development
  6. Execution
  7. Communication and Motivation
  8. Growth and Adaptability
  9. Results Orientation
  10. Poise and Gravitas
  11. Integrity
  12. Synergy

Visit our Currie Training Center website for more information about the Currie Leadership Development Program.  In the meantime, here’s the Currie take on Mastery, and what it means to me as a mentor and leader.  This work is an excerpt from an upcoming book by Robin P. Currie but has been modified to show how this concept applies everywhere – both at work and at home, and both in our businesses as well as in our spirits.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his 2008 best-selling work, Outliers:  The Story of Success, presents his 10,000+ hour theory.  Based upon an earlier (1993) study by Anders Ericsson, Ralf Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Römer, Gladwell coined the phrase, the “10,000-Hour Rule”, as he extracted a hidden gem within the research.  Gladwell’s position remains:  10,000 hours of application marks a critical threshold which one must reach to enter the phase of mastery for a particular endeavor or area of interest.  Although other factors are at play which are necessary to consider in order to support this conclusion, we get it: dedication, long-term commitment, and focus are essential elements of the odyssey into mastery.

Since Gladwell’s success with his book, part of the original team from the 1993 study, including Ericsson, has published another success guide entitled Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.  Although the authors, Anders Ericcson and Robert Pool, explain in this subsequent publication that their original study was not accurately interpreted by Gladwell, the works of all these researchers and authors is of great importance for the study of expertise.

Now consider some of the experts themselves:  Black Belts, Olympians, highest-ranking musicians, social justice leaders, best-selling authors, great painters of Impressionism, military geniuses, and brilliant scientists.  The study of those who have achieved greatness in a focused discipline reveals to us the complexity of the art of mastery, and the themes and practices required are oftentimes theories in paradox.  Below are Robin’s Elements of Expertise, in alphabetical order, so as to assign equal weight to each.

Augmented experience.  Learning that occurs both on the field and off is critical.  Nearly all endeavors require some measure of rounded study.  Professional boxers watch their competitors, learn how they move, and create a customized strategy to apply during a match with that specific opponent.  Coaches present films of matches for the players to review, so they may, outside of the heat of the game, better observe their own performance.  Military leaders learn a great deal of history, psychology, and the study of other cultures. Consider the elements within this piece itself:  the ideas are designed to all fit together, as augmented learning tools for the greater goal of mastery.

Clarity of purpose is sometimes elusive, frustrating, and mysterious.  Yet, discovering our purpose and receiving direction for the journey creates for us a joyous, exciting, and fulfilling life and/or career.  Clarity is an essential piece of the puzzle of success in any endeavor.  Yet these two things–clarity and purpose–place us in a precarious position.  In unveiling one’s purpose, one must be prepared to make major, life changing decisions, the first of which requires that one says “yes”.

Commitment.  This element will make or break any practice, any endeavor, and any plan.  Commitment may be the first area you, your team, or your organization need to address in your resolution to become leading masters of your trade.  Depending upon your desired outcome, it may be best to set a predetermined time and place, in order to engage in activities to help you to stay the course of your intentions.  This is where the commitment is made:  in a specified, dedicated time and place, and with specific action steps.

Focus. Do not look to the left or to the right.  Distractions are everywhere.  Disciplined focus requires a disciple to sometimes say “no”.  Others may not appreciate your priorities, but many will.  Shut out the noise, ignore the drama, and keep the faith.  Remaining intently focused on any mission is not easy, but with practice you will eventually master this important skill.

Flexibility is nearly always required.  Opportunity may present differently than expected, or perhaps not at all.  Disappointments and setbacks will create the need to regroup, re imagine, and rewrite the path to excellence.

Intention is expressed in many ways, and most especially through a mission statement—a highly effective way to set and maintain powerful intentions.

Passion is a spontaneous and exhilarating emotion.  Passion is required to obtain true mastery.  Passion is the holy grail of commitment, drive, and tenacity.  Passion is one of the Elements of Expertise which is not something which we learn.  We each already possess it.  But it may be hidden from view, secreted in your underworld, or concealed by social conditioning.  Passion is Jason’s Golden Fleece–that for which he embarked on an epic odyssey.  Along with his Argonauts, and Orpheus with his lyre, Jason committed to an ambitious undertaking–to seize the Golden Fleece for his people.  Find your passion and claim it for yourself and for all.

Perseverance.  Keep going, never stop, be aware of how far you have come, and renew yourself every single day.

Self-Awareness is always the very first step, as has already been mentioned within this work.  A journey into mastery of any type must be executed with an awareness of who you are.  For this knowledge is your power base and where you meet your true higher self.  Figure yourself out and embrace and develop who you are.

Vision is enhanced by the art of visualization.  The visionary mind of Nehemiah, from the Old Testament, is among the most outstanding.  His dedication and commitment were intense and unparalleled, and he was a resourceful entrepreneur.  Nehemiah commenced an enormous project he believed was ordained by God himself:  the holy work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the occupation had set in.  Read about Nehemiah and see what Nehemiah saw, hear what he heard, and believe as he believed.

The process of the Elements of Expertise you have just read may seem exhaustive, comprehensive, complete, and final–but it is not.  We are only just scratching the surface of what it truly means to be a master.  Let us “up our game” and continue to look to each other, and ourselves, as the ultimate masters of self, business, and service.  Masters understand the true potential of themselves and others.  They invoke and command.  They declare and manifest unimaginable creations of will and have transcended fear.  They do not play small.  There are no better leaders and mentors than those who have truly mastered their craft.  There are no greater guides than these.

Remember that Mastery is an art, and something which requires faith and passion.  Your own (or your company’s) journey of mastery may indeed take 10,000 hours.  Your resources are always there, whether you are focused upon them or not.  You may choose a practice, and then fall away.  You may forget, you may stumble, or you may feel overwhelmed and discouraged.  Those learning moments are part of the journey, and they are gems of wisdom, which can serve to advance you along the path, if you so choose to regard them in that manner.  Kurt Lewin (1890 – 1947), a well-known psychologist and organizational and business expert, taught about advancement in his theory of change.  As we desire to grow, we must determine the constraint point, then unfreeze, change, and grow.  We then refreeze as we adjust to the newness.  The process repeats.  So also, be warned: as we make progress towards mastery, we are changed forever.  It is said that once you have achieved deeper mastery, and understand the fullness of your purpose, you may never go back.

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