Let me ask you a question, are you getting the results you want? Are you happy? Are you healthy? Are your relationships fulfilling?
Years ago, when I first graduated from university, I moved to France where my freshly ignited passion for learning and development really took off. Those five years I spent working abroad were a form of graduate school, not only for my heart and mind, but for my soul. My professional work was divided into two tracks; one was the commitment I made to my own development, the other was to the development of others.
For myself, studying Neuro-Linguist Programming gave me an insight into the workings and wiring of language, the body, and brain. I also got exposure more esoteric arts, such as the tarot, and intuitive skills that help me better understand the subconscious.
My work with the development of others brought me to teaching and facilitating individuals and groups. Most of our work was focused on how to communicate and collaborate with people from other cultures (not exclusively designated by countries, by the way, but each company I’ve worked with has its own culture and norms as well). Most importantly though were the patterns I noted on how effective leaders got the results they wanted from themselves and others. It was at this time that one of the principles underlying my work was formed:
Who you are as a person defines the territory of your leadership.
It would be lovely to say that at that point of my career, I was so aware of who and where I was in my life that I consciously sought out the expertise that I needed. Sadly, that was not quite the case. I had curiosity, persistence, and a sense of adventure on my side. Everything else I consider myself very fortunate to have run into.
After France, I moved to San Francisco and landed a job as an instructional designer for a consulting and training firm. I had no idea what I had just stepped into but it turned out to be a dream job. I got to research, design, test, and teach materials that were used around the world. Pilots, testing content with actual clients, were an essential part of the work and I was in front of leaders constantly trying new ideas, behaviors, approaches, and techniques for helping them improve their leadership abilities.
For years, I worked in multiple industries, at multiple levels in organizations, and within various cultures. And you know what struck me the most? The consistency. The leaders, whether working in oil, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, bio-tech, high tech, banking, etc., all shared common traits and patterns. Certainly there were differences in the skills and capabilities needed at different levels of the organization; top executives have to have different perspectives than VPs, VPs need expertise different from Directors, etc. But there were patterns in the overall characteristics of all of these people, and there was one dominant theme in the most successful ones;
The leaders who produce the most successful results are the ones who pay attention to learning along the way.
When I talk about learning here, I mean learning about one’s self and creating meaningful, powerful change from those revelations. Increasing one’s awareness so that perspective, choices, and eventually the sense of self and others evolves. The term I use for this process is self-mastery, an umbrella theme also for the two tracks my professional life, the development of others and development of myself.
How well do you feel that you know yourself? Do you feel that you are approaching self-mastery, or are you just starting on that journey? Please, reach out to us and share your thoughts!
Contact Kathleen Joy, CEO of Lumiere Work to learn more