I find that most people know something about most subjects. To have someone make a big “aha!” isn’t part of the daily routine.
Yet the value is seldom in intellectual understanding, but in daily practice.
Years ago, I was running a weekly Sales Lab for some legendary sales professionals. The program was sponsored by a financial services provider who first wanted his people better, and then found that by opening enrollment they were getting a constant stream of referrals and new customers.
Over the years, we kept doing the same five things every week and everybody just kept getting better.
At the same time, I was consulting to a venture capital fund and the managing partner heard about the weekly meeting and wanted to attend. He was colorful, charismatic, and always behind in his sales.
He was bright and verbal, and many of the other participants already knew him. He jumped right into the exercises.
After, I asked him what he thought. He said, “I enjoyed it, and think I would do better in the advanced class.”
General laughter. The professionals knew there was no advanced class. This was like a martial art, where you just keep getting better at the basics.
Mastery is when my customer says, “We’ve always done it this way.”
When I was living in Marin County, one of my clients was an Aikido adept. He had been faithfully going to the dojo for decades.
I asked him how he measured the value from his practice?
He said, “Years ago, I was bicycling down the road with my baby daughter in the front basket. I hit a pothole, and the front of the bike collapsed. I was thrown over the bike, and was able to catch my daughter before she hit the ground.”
Mastery is not knowing how to do something. Mastery is performing when required.
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