Aim for Mastery: anyTHING else is the same as anyONE else

Talent is god-given, be humbleFame is man-given, be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful – John Wooden (Coach) 

You didn’t become great at what you do by accident. You became great at what you do with a mixture of talent, self-belief and consistent effort.  

I became an accountant, without A levels and without going to university. In fact, I failed my O level accounts, first time round! 

When I was at school, I wanted to be an accountant simply because my parents suggested that it was a good career. I signed up for GSE accounts at 14 years old and surprisingly, loved it. I was top of the school in the end of year exams. Then my teacher retired, and the new teacher was terrible (in my 15-year-old opinion), so I stopped working at it (to show her just how bad she was!) and guess what? I failed my GSE. Wasn’t I clever?! 

Then, I got a job in an accountancy office, determined to make it that way instead. It was microfiching invoices, orders and delivery notes – that didn’t last long either. (If you don’t know what microfiching is, look it up, you’ll soon understand why!) 

But the dream didn’t go away. 25 found me, married for the second time, with a 4-year-old daughter, a GCSE in accounts from the local college, and a new job – as a purchase ledger clerk. This time I committed to learning and to being the best I could be in that role. I was spotted, and 3 months later I was promoted and offered the chance to train to be an accountant, sponsored by the company.  

It was a challenge, I had to start at the very bottom of the ladder, but I continued with 4.5 years of learning and development. I worked full-time, took the mature student route to gaining my CIMA qualification (winning a regional award in my third year), and gained valuable experience, and regular promotions along the way. Not bad for someone who failed their GCE first time round!  

Over the years, with experience and mentoring, I became a master at my job. Confident that I could make a difference to any organisation I worked in.  

I took that confidence into my solo business; sure I would be a success. In fact, I don’t think I considered any other outcome. But what I didn’t realise was that you not only have to master what you DO when you run a Solo Business, you also have to master how to RUN a business and how to GROW a business as well.  

Meatloaf sang that ‘2 out of 3 ain’t bad’, I’ve learned that this is not so in business. You need all three pillars in your business to make your solo business a success. Growing a business was (is) not my strong point, and so began the next challenging chapter: how to master not only serving my clients well but running a business and growing a business at the same time.  

I am only part way down the road to mastery in respect of growing a solo business. I have lots to learn. Efficiency 101 is to benefit from someone else’s learning curve (or mastery), so through a mixture of trial and error (I have followed the wrong people some of the time) I am learning from the best in the business. How about you? Where do you need help and support? 

I’ve been down a couple of cul-de-sacs and got lost along the way, and I often need to remind myself that mastery takes time, and when the goal seems unreachable, I remember these words from Confucius:

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps – Confucius 

If you’d like to check out your business basics foundations to see how your ‘RUN IT’ pillar is performing, I have a free quiz to get you thinking, and the opportunity to talk to me about the results if you’d like. The quiz should take around 10 minutes to complete – the thought around it, perhaps a little longer! Here’s the link.

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