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Success Is… Mastering ONE Thing

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

The route to success is often a tough one that involves hard work and sacrifice. I’ve proposed two general paths to wealth (a form of success) – guru, or entrepreneur. Both routes, as does all form of success, are built on mastering something. Mediocrity does not have a home here.

What does ‘Mastering’ mean?

Simple definition: you become the best you can possibly be in a skill or subject. Add to that: you are recognized for being the authority in it. Being a ‘Master’ (in the genderless context) means that you are known and valued for whatever you have become truly expert in.

Being a Master is relative, though. You don’t need to be the world’s #1 in trigonometry to be a Master in it. You’re a Master when there is little competition in your organizational context, and you are capable of delivering to the full requirements of the role. All successful organizations have a Master of Marketing, as indeed a Master of replenishing the vending machines.

Why is this critical for success?

If a colleague, leader, executive or indeed a follower or subordinate can go to someone else for better advice, service or knowledge, then they won’t go to you. That about sums it up. You may be given an opportunity to contribute to whatever is happening, but you won’t be recognized or rewarded as the person who made it happen.

The Master is the point person in a situation, and commands the resources (people, money, tools,etc) to create the desired outcome. Applying resources and observing their effect (with the full context of the situation known) aids learning, develops knowledge and becomes more confident – the Master becomes more Masterful.

As a Master, you’ve always a lot to learn

Masters are not the final product. They never will be, and that’s what makes them a Master in the first place. No, I haven’t gone crazy. Here’s what I mean. As a Master, you have such an acute awareness of what can be improved, developed and enhanced in your subject: there is still much to know. Do you think a Master brain surgeon has no ideas on what they can do to improve the practice of brain surgery, and their contribution to it? No. Of course they don’t.

A Master innovates and pushes boundaries, and this is what creates massive value, and therefore success, wealth, recognition, an abundance of sexual partners… whatever your poison.

You only need to Master ONE thing

Just one! You might have other interests you desire to develop and spend time doing, and you might even master those too. But all you need is just ONE thing that you’re the Master in, and your path to success is laid before you.

Stop spreading yourself so thin!

If you’re having to do many different things on many fronts, chances are you’re not developing your skills, knowledge and authority in a narrow-band. Hey! You’re a Jack-of-all-trades-master-at-none! Guess what? You’ve slipped into the domain of mediocrity without knowing it. You’re easily replaceable once the work dies down a bit.

You don’t want that do you?

It is impossible to develop future success this way: the value you add when working like that is temporary and subjective. This happens to the greatest of masters at times, but it isn’t their modus operandi.

Just for clarification…

Let me be clear that it is common and often desired to support and enable a public figurehead who appears to be the ‘go-to’ guy for something, yet you’re the one that really makes things happen. Is this success? Or are you a chump that is too afraid of the limelight?

This IS a successful tactic: in these situations, a figurehead has dependence on you, and should therefore pass on much of the fruits of success (if they didn’t, I guess you would walk), yet you don’t have to suffer the rollercoaster of being in the public eye.

Success, and how you measure it, is entirely down to how you define it. Only you’ll need to Master ONE thing to get there.

Are You a Master?

Have YOU mastered something? What has it meant to your career success? Share YOUR story!

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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SimonStapleton.com located at Watledge , Stroud, UK . Reviewed by 10,923 readers rated: 9.5 / 10
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