Self-Mastery – Your Real Work…

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How serious are you about becoming better at your craft, achieving mastery, and continuous growth?  And if you are truly serious, are you working on the right things?  Because if we’re really going to take Covey’s advice to heart and sharpen our saw, we need to make sure we are actually sharpening the right saw.

I spent most of the week in Dallas at Influence ’18, the annual convention of the National Speakers Association (NSA).  (Which was special for me this year, as I got to induct Bob Burg into the Speaker Hall of Fame, and Terry Brock won the Cavett Award for best exemplifying the life of Cavett Roberts, the NSA founder.)  This event is one of about four that I’ll attend this year only as an attendee, to work on my own skills.

I notice a disappointing pattern at Influence, similar to what I see for people attending direct selling events.  People don’t understand the distinction between their industry and their profession.

There is an industry around professional speaking.  It includes venues, meeting planners, speaker bureaus, and many other facets.  So part of being successful includes understanding your industry, so you learn the skills for running your business and interacting with others in the industry.

Then there is the profession of speaking.  And that includes the stagecraft elements; things like platform presence, storytelling, audience interaction, employing humor, and creating and delivering your content in a way that your audiences can actually process and then apply it.

We like the standing ovations.  But the number of standing ovations you get doesn’t determine whether you are a successful speaker.  The positive change you help your audience members to enact determines that.

But as I peeked in the breakout sessions at NSA, the packed rooms were almost always the ones about getting better at the industry.  Everyone wants to know how to get more social media followers, book deals, podcasts subscribers, and bookings.  There aren’t nearly as many people seeking to become better at their profession.

I can say the same thing for the direct selling conventions.  Everyone wants to know the secret to winning the bonus cars and trips, the trophies and big bonus checks.  I don’t see enough people working on mastering their craft; learning the skills that will make them a better leader for their team.

I would wager that the results would be the same in occupation after occupation.  We want the glitzy prize at the end, but often aren’t willing to do the work.  The real work.  Not the industry work, but the profession work.  Here’s the thing most people miss…

If you achieve mastery on your profession skills, the industry issues will almost take care of themselves.

I’ve read that there are only three possible outcomes that motivate people to seek success: fame, finance, or freedom.

I would argue there is another…

Fulfillment.  More specifically, the fulfillment that comes from endeavoring to become a better version of yourself every day.

Not that’s there anything wrong with fame, finance or freedom.  I’m kinda sweet on all three.  But none of the three alone, or even all three together, will provide you with the satisfaction you get when you bring in the fourth.  So let me suggest a few questions for you:

  • What are the reasons driving you toward success?
  • Are you working on your skills?
  • And are you just working on the “industry” ones, or the “profession” ones?


P.S.  And for those of you committed to achieving true mastery as an influencer, be sure and check out my TRIBAL Event.

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