Guest writer Ann Roulac once again joins us to provide insights into having a purpose-focused business and life.
Throughout my career I’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of entrepreneurs and executives – including several billionaires. Some excelled and became leaders in their industry, and others failed miserably. What separated the leaders was a set of personal principles, beliefs, and perspectives—what I define as “personal mastery.”
Success is not the result of a particular level of intelligence or education. While the benefits of a quality education and of being very smart make the journey to success a little easier, they are not the primary prerequisites for greatness. We all possess our own particular genius and the ability to make a unique contribution to our relationships, businesses, and communities. But, if we don’t take the opportunity to get in touch with our gifts, we will not achieve our highest purpose and destiny.
Highly Educated Individuals Score Low on Self-Leadership and Personal Mastery Skills
McKinsey & Company recently conducted research on the skills citizens will need in the future world of work. They considered four broad skill categories: cognitive, digital, interpersonal, and self-leadership. In general, survey participants with a university degree had higher average proficiency scores across various elements of talent. However, McKinsey & Company found that highly educated subjects received low proficiency scores in interpersonal and self-leadership. According to the study, higher education provided no advantage in terms of subjects’ self-awareness, self-management, goal achievement, critical thinking, and effective teamwork.
The study by McKinsey & Company confirms what I have observed over the course of many years: the majority of professionals lack the skills required to perform optimally in the workplace. However, by embarking on the path to personal mastery, these skills can be acquired. Developing personal mastery enables working professionals to improve critical thinking, enhance creativity, and embrace collaboration.
What is Personal Mastery?
Personal mastery is the practice of clarifying and deepening your personal vision and purpose, while striving toward your highest potential. The term personal mastery is interchangeable with the terms self-management and self-leadership. Self-leadership enables us to channel our thoughts, feelings, and actions towards our personal vision and to take responsibility for our own lives. So, pursuing personal mastery is the process of becoming the CEO of your own life.
The development of mastery is not an event but a journey. It is a process of moving toward your highest potential and the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening your personal vision. The path toward mastery requires an act of courage to move forward in a new direction. Everyone’s path to mastery is different, and each of us encounters unique lessons along the way. Sometimes it’s necessary to stand still and reflect on where you’re going and what you’re learning. Other times it’s best to take action and make mistakes in order to see where change needs to occur.
Either way, the path toward mastery requires risk-taking and a leap of faith. Pursuing personal mastery takes courage to move forward in a new direction. As part of the journey, we must cast off our addiction to instant gratification and quick solutions— like our dreams of winning the lottery.
Why Pursue the Path to Mastery?
In the words of Joseph Campbell, “The world is full of people who have stopped listening to themselves or have listened only to their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave, and what the values are that they should be living.”
We live in complex times. Each day presents innumerable opportunities to lose our balance and sense of control. We are experts at creating distractions and excuses for not doing what we are meant to do. Our busy lives leave little time for solitude or reflection, and whatever time we do have is usually spent seeking some kind of relief.
We all have the capacity to make choices that will lead to greater happiness and health. We are able to transform our work and our personal lives into rewarding and satisfying experiences. And, if we do so, we can ultimately break through and reclaim control of our destiny. Personal mastery is what separates those who take charge of their lives from those whose lives are dictated by the whims of others. The more time we spend developing our skills, gifts, and talents, the more comfortable we become with ourselves.
As the world changes at a dramatic pace, traditional business approaches will become even more ineffective. The failure rate for entrepreneurs remains high, as most entrepreneurs do not have a clear vision for their life or their business. Entrepreneurs, who possess mastery at reinventing and actualizing an authentic vision for their business and their life, will remain prosperous and successful in spite of our shape shifting economy.
Fulfill Your Highest Potential
In my work, I’ve had the opportunity to observe the unique characteristics possessed by those who are advancing on the path to mastery. Such people embody qualities that allow them to make healthy changes in their lives as well as positive differences in the lives of others.
You are in a state of presence and mastery when:
- You have a strong, clear sense of purpose.
- You are focused on your commitments, intentions, and actions.
- You recognize your strengths, gifts, and unique qualities.
- You draw from specific and well-defined sources of inspiration.
- You feel aligned with the natural environment and those around you.
- You embrace change rather than resisting it.
- You are highly curious and look for new things to learn and interesting people to meet.
- You have an acute sense of awareness, certainty, and confidence about your life and decisions.
- You experience a strong inner knowing, guided by a universal or divine presence.
We all possess unlimited potential—a unique blend of our creative genius and talents. But only through personal mastery are we able to fully access that potential. As Marianne Williamson aptly stated, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” By embarking on the path to mastery, we can live consciously in accordance with our desires, life purpose, and vision.
If you'd like to learn more about Ann or her company, click here.