Are you pursuing mastery or a title?

The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.

~Gary Zukav

Over the past several days, I’ve spoken with several frustrated individuals.  In each case, they came to see me because they were passed-over for promotions.

I’ve been in their position and completely understand their frustration.  Several years ago I was stuck.  I had been in the same position for over four years.  Several folks around me, many who had started after I did, were promoted.  Not me.    Rather than taking an inventory of my skills, understanding what would help my employer and working toward mastery in those areas, I focused on trying to look good for my next promotion.

It didn’t work.  In fact, it made things worse.  Trying to figure out what management would consider “promotion worthy” was like trying to time the stock market.  The result was that I continued to be “passed over” and I became burned-out and angry.  I had forgotten a primary rule of business: To increase your long-term personal standing within your organization you must find ways to create more value for your company and its customers.  Therefore rather than focusing on that next promotion, it would have been better to learn as much as I could about my company and its business, then mastered a skill that enabled it to be more successful.

What does it take to obtain mastery? According to  Malcolm Gladwell about 10,000 hours of focused work.    If you consider the average work week is 40 hours, that means you should be able to become a master in about 5 years.  While that may seem like a long time, it really isn’t.  If you are focusing effectively and what you are working on has strong value to your organization you will likely get raises and or promotions along the way.  In short, as your productivity and results become more reliable, promotions and pay will follow.  And, even if your current organization doesn’t recognize your value, you will have built a set of skills other organizations might-especially your company’s competition.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!

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