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.
If you want to achieve greater results, you need to challenge your perspective.
When was the last time you heard, “Common sense isn’t so common anymore”? It probably wasn’t long ago. Was it you that said it? It’s a favorite quip of those in management. Oddly enough, when you are in a position of leadership the most common temptation is to follow the status quo by maintaining practices and platitudes regardless of their effectiveness.
Asking the right questions as a leader
While leadership may question what their employees are doing at times, the same is true in the reverse. Those further down the ladder may fall prey to following poor examples of work ethic and quality. Conversely, those in leadership are sheep of a higher standing, doing things as they have always been done. The question we should be asking at any level is, “It may be common, but is it successful?”
Challenging your perspective as a leader
In a recent interview with Joe Rogan, Firas Zahabi (see video link below) shares his insights on fighting the standard perspective of working out. Zahabi believes that by focusing on consistency rather than intensity, athletes and health conscious individuals can produce better long term. Firas asks the question, what if your work out could energize you rather than exhaust you? It seems like a wild idea but he reviews several examples of positive results including his own journey as an athlete and trainer.
Firas Zahabi interview with Joe Rogan
Firas Zahabi's accomplishments as a leader
As a mixed martial arts (MMA) grappling coach, Firas Zahabi is know for his work as the leader of the TriStar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Perhaps his most well known student is also one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, George Saint Pierre also know as GSP. According to MMA Fighting GSP’s accomplishments as a fighter place him firmly in the discussion as one of the greatest fighters of all time (GOAT),
“St-Pierre is currently the consensus best welterweight in history, sporting a 25-2 record in the division and having avenged both of his career losses. He currently holds the record for most title bouts (15) and is tied for the record of most wins in UFC history (20). He is also one of only four men to win belts in two separate weight classes.”
Refusing to follow along with the status quo
Zahabi found professionals who were achieving high results by approaching their profession more strategically then their competition. He talks about the importance of having fun while training and redefining what it means to go hard. Firas continues to enjoy what he does and has worked with some of the most successful practitioners in his field. If you invest the twenty minutes in listening to what this coach has to say you may find some inspiration for your personal workouts as well as some nuggets that will help you professionally as well.
Having fun while grinding is key to success
If you are having fun while you train than you will want to train more. By creating an atmosphere that is structured but loose, a mundane and grueling part of training can become something that adds energy rather than drains it. Author and CEO coach Lex Sisney reminds us to understand from the basic laws of physics that we have a finite amount of energy both as individuals and organizations. It is to our advantage to find ways to maximize this energy rather than deplete it. Those in positions of leadership should seek means to develop an atmosphere that brings energy to the team.
Working your grind rather than being ground out
In the MMA world it is seen as a badge of honor to train hard, Firas challenges the thought process and definition of training hard. Emphasizing that intensity is not the key but consistency. We know it is wise to work smarter not harder and yet we often chose to apply this principle in reverse. Zahabi advocates for maintaining 100% effort while thinking through the approach to the distribution of the work load consistently and strategically over time. If an athlete can get more out of their training using these methods in high intensity sports, perhaps organizations can learn from this approach to maximize their output in highly competitive industries.
Playing it safe is not a recipe for success
Firas Zahabi’s approach is definitely different than most in his sport and he discusses that. It would be much safer for him to take the same approach and yet had he done so we may not have witnessed the greatness of a fighter like George Saint Pierre. We think that the safest thing to do is not to take risks. In competitive markets from pro sports to the industry that you are in, playing it safe feels much safer than rocking the boat. You may not be a huge success but you also won’t be the nail that sticks out the furthest when the hammer comes down from higher up. When we fail to ask the why, we live without purpose. When we fail to take measured risks, we lead without conviction.
The DYOJO is the Do Your Job Dojo. In The DYOJO we want to help each other develop intentionally.
Jon Isaacson has a monthly feature column with Restoration & Remediation (R&R) Magazine titled The Intentional Restorer