It was a different age of rapid and very high inflation many years ago. Remaining competitive with wages for our current staff and those we were recruiting was essential to the success of our organization. Inflation made it even more challenging. I was responsible for preparing comparative wage information, sorted manually (remember years ago) six different ways, for our senior leaders to review as they wrestled with making wage adjustments. Our CEO was blessed with a gift spotting any mistake we made in those manual data sorts. To fix those mistakes, I immersed myself into learning the macros utilized in Lotus 1-2-3 (a name from the past) and became a master. The macros I created did all the sorting without any errors. Success! Yet my mastery was short lived as along came Microsoft Office and a product called Excel.
We love it when we have mastery of something. With mastery comes confidence and it gives us a special status too. Others look to us as an expert. We can push our chest out with pride that we are THE MASTER. There is a special glory that comes with mastery, but we need to remember,
“All glory is fleeting” – George Patton
Mastery of anything never lasts very long, it’s always replaced by something or someone. The loss most often comes from new technology or the advancing of “father time.” I was once the master of our VCR player, a video game called Mario and an iPhone 4. All of those were replaced by something newer, which made me learn again. Most of us remember that in the early years of our career, we could still stay up late at night and get up early for work, but these days, maybe not.
We like having mastery, but don’t always like the process to obtain it. Gaining mastery is full of failures and feelings of inadequacy at whatever it is we are working on. Do you enjoy those feelings? It was fun when our kids were small, and they came to us for all the answers. We knew it all. What about now? If you are middle aged (you decide what that is for you) don’t you hesitate to call a son or daughter to get help with technology on a phone, TV or a streaming service? Of course you do. We feel like we should know, but we don’t. So many people cling to things they know instead of learning something new because they don’t want to re-start the feelings of failure and inadequate all over.
Things have changed, are changing today, and will change again in the future. It can’t be stopped. We forget how often we’ve learned something new. We’re better at it than we’d like to believe. It’s time to revel in our skillset for changing, to accept we’re good at it.
When you are interviewing for a new position, it’s common to talk about your current job knowledge and skills. Important, but what happens when the world changes? As an example, if you’re hired for your knowledge of a specific IT system and it is later replaced, what happens to your value?
In your next interview, focus on what you’ve learned and your skills at learning new things. Every leader today knows tomorrow will be different, and they want team members to be able to adapt and learn new things.
Mastery isn’t a destination, it’s a short live point on a map. Embracing learning new things.
And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 (GNT)