I recently listened to Michael Gervais’ interview with world class snowboarder Jake Blauvelt on Gervais’ podcast Finding Mastery. One of the questions Gervais asks all his guests near the end of the interview is, “How do you think about or define or articulate Mastery?”
Here is Blauvelt’s answer, “Mastery is flowing effortlessly and not copying anyone’s style with whatever skill you are trying to master. It’s more just being you. Having your own style, or back to Bruce Lee (they had talked about Bruce Lee’s philosophies earlier in the interview) not having any style at all. For me you are never going to be better than that person’s style. That’s their style. So, be a master at your own style and the way that you do it, and just flow through it. And also being able to teach. There are a lot of people who are so good but, they don’t know how to articulate, how to teach someone to be better at whatever they want to be. So between having your own unique style, your own genuine style, and flowing effortlessly with that style, and being able to pass it on to someone else shows mastery to me.”
There are so many great takeaways for trainers in that answer I had to listen to it a few more times and then write it down and share it. Here are some of my takeaways from that answer:
- Watch, listen to, and study others, but be yourself.
- Be comfortable in your own style.
- Work exceptionally hard at your craft so when it is time to perform you can let it flow effortlessly.
- Mastery is not just about you, it is about your ability to teach and to help others learn and grow into the best versions of themselves.
Not being a snowboarder, and not following the sport, I had never heard of Jake Blauvelt before listening to the interview. I was very impressed with his humility, his thoughtfulness, his insights and his commitment to continually learning and growing, not only as an athlete, but as a person.
Gervais’ question, “How would you think about, or define, or articulate Mastery?” always makes me think of the quote from Ernest Hemingway, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master”. The people Gervais interviews, who others would call Masters in their craft, often think of themselves as apprentices on a never ending journey of learning and growing. I have found the same thing with the people I have interviewed for The Excellence in Training Academy.
What about you? Do you consider yourself a master? Or, do you think of yourself as a student, an apprentice, striving to improve so you can do a better job of teaching, helping and serving others on their journey?
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