Rachel Stewart has good news for all those who feel like they alone are unqualified to achieve their dreams, we all are.
Positivity makes us feel good, but does it have any power? Author and practitioner Rachel Stewart shares her insights into harnessing the power of the right mindset while pursuing success. Her book, Unqualified Success, is packed with examples from high achievers as well as a uniquely personal story which unfolds throughout the narrative. Rachel provides practical tools for personal development that will empower readers to embrace the journey of bridging the gap from where you are today to where you want to be.
Rachel makes herself approachable as an author. Introducing herself and kicking off the tone of the book with the first line, “I am unqualified to write this book.” By admitting this, she seeks to embrace this truth with those who feel as though they are unqualified and are willing to admit it as the start of their journey. The key is that, “The only qualification to get better: being willing to such when you start (p.180).”
Starting at Zero
At the time of writing this book, Rachel was serving as the Executive Vice President of Titan Restoration in Arizona. She started her career in the world of property damage restoration as a stay at home mother returning to the work force. Titan hired Rachel as an unqualified bookkeeper and office manager. As the company grew, so did Rachel and they found themselves reaching a five year goal in less than half that time.
Check Your Ego at the Door
At a critical point of choosing whether to merge with another company or continue on their own, Titan offers Rachel the opportunity to serve as their general manager. As the professional stakes grew the personal feelings of being unqualified did not diminish. It is in many of these uncomfortable moments of inadequacy that Rachel learns to lean into the reality of being unqualified rather than protecting your ego.
“This book isn’t about ego. In fact, it’s about the exact opposite. I have been highly unqualified for every position that I have ever held. But I have come to learn that we all are. We are all unqualified today for the life we could have tomorrow (p.9).”
From the Trenches
Unqualified Success weaves the stories of names we respect as achievers as well as new characters such as Magno Santos. Magno immigrates from Brazil and the reader is invited to journey with him throughout the book as he pursues the American Dream. Recognizing that we are all unqualified frees us to embrace the process of becoming by changing our perspective. Magno continually propels himself forward in the face of obstacles with the mantra, “If you can know it, I can know it (p.29).”
Change of Perspective
Paradigm shift is easier said than done but by doing so we are able to see that our actions do not create out feelings, our thoughts do. Rachel posits that no one is qualified when it comes down to it. The big secret is, “That having the mindset that you are qualified is the biggest determining factor in whether or not you are qualified (p.25).” Cleaning out your thought closet and taking ownership of your thoughts is key to unlocking your potential.
Change of Expectation
If our self-view is the starting point, the next phase is aligning our expectation. “Too many times we are waiting to arrive before we start (p.48).” Understanding that mastery is a process and practice is the key to pursuit of perfection, we should not discourage ourselves with a defined view of the end. Our battle for becoming is primarily an internal one. The imagery of the two wolves fighting inside each of us presented in Chapter 5 is apt. Which one will win? “The one you feed (p.68).”
Change of Environment
Ordinary people achieve extraordinary things. Greatness is not the exclusive property of the elite. “The willingness to stay in discomfort for extended periods of time is the essence of grit. It also happens to be an essential key to achieving everything you want (p.83).” As Rachel notes, discomfort is a factor both in failure and in success. Discomfort is the currency and working through it is the journey. When we are tested we must resist our numbing agents and lean into the process of testing our limits.
The Big Reveal
Rachel blends a beautiful mix of personal experience, representative stories and practical tools to assist the reader in building a resource base for feeding their growth mindset. She seeks to inspire others to embrace the journey. The book reveals that Magno’s relentless pursuit of bettering himself intersects with Rachel’s family in a very real way when is quality of care lead to an early diagnosis for her father. “Nobody starts out extraordinary. No one begins fully qualified and ready. The minute we understand this principle and it really sinks in, our whole work opens up (p.243).”
Are You Ready to be an Unqualified Success?
If you dare to read this book, you will find that your excuses melt and your obstacles become opportunities. You should feel unqualified but that should in no way stop you from pursing success. “When we are willing to trade in our need to win or succeed for a need to simply learn and grown instead, we open another world of possibility for achievement (p.186).” You are not alone, you have resources and a tribe of fellow unqualified successes rooting for you.
In the quest for exponential growth hacks those in a position of leadership ought to be careful not to become entrepreneurial hacks themselves.
News of General Electric being removed from the Dow reminds business leaders to analyze whether their growth mindset is in line with their values.
General Electric is one of the largest organizations in the world with a diverse investment portfolio. When it comes to history, it doesn’t get much richer than GE who was founded by inventor Thomas Edison and banking mogul J.P. Morgan. In 1896 General Electric was one of the 12 original companies to be listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow) which is utilized as a reference for health of the market and investments strategies. GE has grown internally as well as by acquisition and diversified their portfolio of businesses to become a leader in multiple industries to become a multinational conglomerate ranked in 2011 as the 6th largest firm in America.
Recently General Electric was removed from the Dow as an indication of its lack of performance, down 55% over the past year (a net of nearly $100 billion) with is stock being valued at an average of $13 per share in comparison to Walgreens which now replaces GE and has a value of $68. Many speculate that this is another brick in the wall, which the Wall Street Journal notes as, “The unraveling of its finance business and competitive problems.”
If your exponential growth strategy is through acquisition do you reach a point where there is nothing more you can buy?
If you grow by acquisition what is the collateral impact of poor integration of cultures between business units?
Back in 2009, Forbes reported on a $50 million dollar fine issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that General Electric had to pay after, “An investigation into accounting shenanigans that severely tarnished the company’s reputation and helped set the stage for last years collapse in its stock price.” Forbes compares GE’s shifty accounting practices to those of professional baseball players using and covering performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in order to keep up their appearances on paper that they were meeting or exceeding analysts expectations. Chairman Jeffrey Immelt, the hand chosen predecessor to famed CEO Jack Welch, carried practices which many convinced themselves were in the spirit of teamwork where the company would shift money from businesses to reduce or minimize losses in other areas and in this particular case sold locomotives to what appear to be ghost companies to increase sales numbers.
If you focus on rapid growth does the haste have an impact on long term internal systems such as accounting and production with regards to sustainability?
If the accounting goals become the metric for growth, rather than a measure of progress, what consequences are there when an organization begins to manipulate the numbers to see what they want to see?
We can learn a lot from the fall of pyramid schemes such as the $60 billion dollar ponzi scheme pulled off by the now infamous Bernie Madoff in that the glut of growth can cast a wide net. While Madoff took the fall for being the master-mind behind the scheme, something he still seems to believe and relish, no participant in the earnings or the machine can wash their hands in the collective draw from the system. WNYC Studio’s Radiolab created a podcast titled Ponzi Supernova which dug into the story behind the worlds largest con and was able to get feedback from Bernie Madoff himself. In short, Madoff viewed himself as an outsider and refused to be dismissed which started a process of winning by any means and he stumbled across a method for doing just that.
If the accounting goals are the driver for business growth rather than the checks-and-balances of you operation, you can convince yourself – like General Electric, Bernie Madoff, or perhaps more notably the employees and participants in both declines – that what you are doing is necessary. What do we tell ourselves? Everyone is doing it. If you hear yourself say or think these four words then you shouldn’t ignore the historically proven red flags. Like professional athletes, do we tell ourselves, I’m only going to do this to jump start or get back in the game and then I will go back to doing it the right way? Again, our systems have red flags, but if we ignore them we are headed down a path that it is difficult to return from. The gains of rapid growth are alluring but the consequences are severe as in the examples above where building on shaky ground can erodes over a century of performance or shady dealings can land you in prison.
Three simple principles for checking yourself before you wreck yourself:
The IT factor. Not the scary movie about a blood thirsty clown, but the search for what makes certain individuals successful.
I was thankful to have a good discussion with my friends at SU2S.org on what IT looks like and we concluded it has three main components:
The Will + The Skill + The Chill
The Will is whether or not your heart is in the game, whatever your game is. Do you have the will to work in your vision? If you have no will then you will not progress unless you are intentional.
The Skill separates the doers from the dreamers in that those who have a legitimate will to make a difference and succeed will engage in building their skills. You can have the will and yet fail in skill if you are not engaged.
The Chill is what separates those who fizzle from those who endure. You can have the will, develop the skill but if you don’t have the chill to weather the storms then you will not be able to finish the race.
Will, skill and chill are required, they are intertwined and progressive. Clarify your vision, grow yourself consistently and hold yourself accountable to see your purpose through.
1. Do you have The Will to move forward with your vision?
2. Have you developed The Skill to grow in your purpose?
3. Do you have The Chill to endure through the challenges?
Start your pursuit of success with our 2018 flab pack goal buster video below
Originally published September 5, 2017 on The Daily Positive as How to identify the right mentor by Jon Isaacson.
Successful professionals understand the importance of learning the hard skills of their chosen craft. But when it comes to management skills, the value of mentorship is often forgotten. Mentoring is a relationship of purpose wherein Professional A enlists Professional B to assist in his personal and/or professional development. Mentorship is broad and unique to the various industries and stages of professional development.
If mentorship were an actual ship, what would that sea craft look like and how can individuals apply this to their search for the right mentor?
Do you need a tugboat?
The tugboat maneuvers vessels by pushing or pulling them. What are the features that the mentee is looking for? The mentee needs someone strong, behind the scenes, understated, and always reliable. A tugboat mentor proves that not all mentors look the same or fit the archetype of the mentorship romance narratives. A mentor who serves like a tug boat will assist those vessels that are unable to propel themselves, whether temporarily due to being disabled by damage or as an assistant for those vessels that are in narrow waters and need assistance with navigation while in a tight spot.
“My mentor said, ‘Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!’” — Jim Rohn
Mentors who specialize in categories of business or management skills can be a vital boost to your advancement as professional. A tugboat relationship may be short in duration or enlisted only when certain circumstances require an extra push. Tugboat mentors are available on call or at scheduled intervals, but they know the boundaries of how engaged to be to assist the mentee in building his own success. Tugboat mentorships are often the least expensive, least involved, and serve for specific durations.
Here are some characteristics to assist in the search of a tugboat mentor: look for quiet strength, don’t overlook professionals who have experience but may not fit preconceived notions, confront whether your current needs are to be pushed or pulled.
Do you need a freighter?
Cargo ships are designed to carry heavy loads from point A to point B. Freighters are equipped for types of cargo, course parameters, and journey duration. The mentee needs someone who can assist with carrying a current project through to its vision destination. Mentors who serve in a cargo capacity may have more than one mentee who they are working with; they may not provide the highest level of individualized care, but they will help carry the process through to completion.
Freighter may be the most common mentorship scenario, as most professionals don’t seek out this level of transparency or assistance until they are faced with an opportunity that is too heavy, too complicated, or stretches them further than they have traveled in their career.
“Colleagues are a wonderful thing – but mentors, that’s where the real work gets done.” — Junot Diaz
Driven people understand that there are mental road blocks on the way to professional development. Seeking the support of another professional to assist in navigation may be the key to breaking through. A freighter relationship may be a longer duration than the tugboat mentor and yet more utilitarian as the parameters of the interaction are tied to objectives. Mentees who have a clearer understanding of what they need are better able to map out and communicate their needs in an agreement between both mentorship parties.
Here are some characteristics to assist in the search of a freighter mentor: try to determine whether your current need is load specific to a type of heavy burden, experiential in nature to a path that must be traveled, or mission-centric.
Do you need an aircraft carrier?
Aircraft carriers are some of the most expensive ships in the sea, but they are also fitted with the best in technology for intelligence, offense, and defense. As a mentee who is in need of vision, organization, equipment, and support, the aircraft carrier can provide it all, including the ability to send resources to salvage if the mission has crashed and burned. Mentors who work in an aircraft carrier capacity may be utilitarian in providing insights into vision charting, course preparation, or operational assistance, or they may be ordered to intercede in a specific mission.
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell
As an aspiring professional, it is important to keep yourself personally and professionally challenged. The value of this can be multiplied by identifying a suitable mentor who will assist you to navigate the most complex systems of interpersonal relationships within leadership roles. The mentee who understands her needs and has the resources can call upon an aircraft carrier mentor to provide mission assistance, whereas the mentee who lacks clarity may call upon the intelligence and support capacities of her carrier mentor.
Here are some characteristics to assist in the search of a carrier mentor: know thyself, and understand where you are and where you are going. With a firm sense of those two items, identifying a mentor who has mastered the skills you are working on will be much more evident.
Professional athletes have coaches and trainers even though they are at the very height of their professional skills, earning, and influence. Seeking the assistance of someone who can assist you to tug, carry, or chart your way through the murky waters of personal development can be a very positive and fulfilling addition to your professional adventure.
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - Creative business solutions. We help you connect, collaborate & conquer. #MTWSL
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