One of my biggest lessons from last year is that I truly do believe I can do anything. I really do. And so, because I believe it, I set out to do it. The lesson I did not learn, however, until much much later, is that it’s not really possible to do everything even if you can do anything,
And so I have spent a good portion of my life seeking mastery and excellence in everything I do. And because I am super excited and invigorated by life, I also like to take on new challenges - new skills, new classes, new opportunities...new new new. I love to challenge myself. I love to grow. I am an expert generalist and I am damned proud of it. What some of you may have already realized, of course, is that it is impossible to be a master at everything. And for those of us who try, no matter how capable we might be, we will ultimately be unable to achieve such an unattainable goal. (If you know someone who is able to do this, I would like to read his or her book, for surely they must be teaching the world their tricks.)
But this year, I am challenging myself in a new way. Some might call it ground-breaking, (though personally I believe it will prevent me from back-breaking.) I, Amanda Parker, commit to doing one thing exceptionally well. Or better yet, I commit to doing one thing pretty well. Forget exceptional. The stakes are already too high and I have not yet begun.
My past lists of desires for the new year or a new career would be to master 25 new skills and a couple of languages. Needless to say, I was always disappointed. This year, my comfort zone will be stretched as I negotiate how to actually let go of having too many dreams and too many desires and just focus my energy on true mastery of fewer things.
Now I know old habits will seep in through the cracks, I know I might end up mastering TWO new things, not just one, but I am willing to take a bet on myself and try my best to focus and, ultimately, create more space in my life for accomplishment, rather than disappointment.
What have you mastered in your lifetime? Where do you seek to grow your skills this year?
Amanda is Leadership Coach. She founded The Courage Factory to empower leaders to live and lead courageously. She helps people who have already achieved a lot in their life and are feeling stuck, or unsure of where to go next. Amanda believes we are each capable of transformation and taking courageous action.