Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

Skills Are Overrated. August 11, 2011

For all of my talk about building mastery of your unique skills – the ones that you do better than anyone & thus give you the greatest opportunity for standout, brilliant impact – the reality is that your skill is relevant only when you possess 2 other qualities. 

Until these are present, your skill, regardless of study, practice, & opportunity, will never fully blossom. 

#1 – Will.  Will as in tenacity, motivation, desire, & fearlessness.  I am not talking about the will that “guts it out.”  I am talking about the will that embraces, forges forward, and creates progress.  It comes from a knowingness & acceptance of where you are (your as-is) and a drive to move forward.  To progress.  To shift.  Gutting it out has its place, but typically results in fatigue & burnout.  It is overdrive – not drive.  Drive assumes possibility but recognizes that progress doesn’t walk backwards to meet you where you are.  That you must step forward to meet it.  And sometimes, that means stepping off the comfort ledge & believing deep within you that you will soar. 

#2 – Compassion.  The yoga sutras talk about compassion as the foundational principle of service.  When we work from a place of compassion – or service – we strive to create something better for the world – not just for ourselves.  We see others and the planet in our sphere of influence.  We fully understand to our core that unless we work with the right intention, we can never achieve our peak.  We are at our best when we are bringing value to the world.  It is a knowing that bringing value to the world, even at a short-term cost to oneself, ultimately & always brings value to us.  We are creatures of service, and this starts with compassion.  Want to set yourself on fire?  Connect with the impact you can have.  Your performance will skyrocket. 

Last weekend, my husband & I took our children to an amazing family camp at Glen Arden Camp in NC.  While there, we had an opportunity to rock climb.  True harnessed, hanging from a rock by a rope rock climbing.  Totally exhilarating.  Our children joined us, and if you have read past posts about my son, you can imagine how challenging this was for him.

I learned one of Maya’s skills are akin to spiderman.  And with some effort & a bit of fear, she was able to summit and then repel back down with relative ease.  But Jack – lacking the skill – made slow & arduous progress on the rock.  Progress that sometimes was so slow it was difficult to detect.  Often, it looked like he might just lie on that steep incline the rest of the day.  But he had WILL.  He did not give up.  Did not ask for relief.  Never considered quitting.  Sweating profusely, he kept working.  An hour of suspension, and finally, he completed the journey.  Climbing up and repelling down.  He made it.  Total Will. 

Other children climbed after Jack, and struggled with fear & skill mid-rock.  Tears, sweat, & a little begging to stop.  However, I believe witnessing Jack’s example motivated them to work through their fear & press on.  And they all made it.  Will is contagious. 

On our hike home, Jack was more excited about that fact that everyone else made it to the top, and he congratulated his sister on being “the fastest climber of all the kids.”  He’s still telling people how great his family did on the rock with no mention of his own accomplishment.  Service.  Total Compassion.

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