This is a guest post from Eazl community member Amanda Rose. Connect with her on LinkedIn by clicking the image below.
On my daily excursions with my best friend, Tumbles, I play a game with myself. While she’s smelling bushes and gopher holes, I examine the houses on our route. As we pass each house, I question myself about the family inside, and I wonder about how they achieved suburban splendor. “What do they do for a living? How did they achieve their goals? What did they overcome? Was it a sink or swim situation? Were they a child prodigy?” Some of the questions I ask myself might seem silly, but it’s a direct reflection on my personal desire for progress. I project that these people have found their purpose, something I have yet to do for myself.
These seemingly successful people are all around me, and often times, all around us. It’s not easy to strike up a conversation with a total stranger, especially if you’re hoping to glean some insight about yourself from them and their story. That’s why the podcast movement is so important for young professionals like myself – phenomenal interviewers can delve into the minds and lives of highly successful people, and we get to eavesdrop. The Finding Mastery Podcast is currently one of my favorites.
Finding Mastery makes titans of athletics, business, and art accessible to the public. The host, Dr. Michael Gervais, is a high-performance psychologist who, over the course of each episode, examines and dissects the guest’s journey through life and the struggles they’ve faced, the guest’s psychological framework and how they interact with the world, and the mental skills and values necessary to become successful in intense, performance driven environments. Hearing wildly successful professionals discuss their own hurdles and shortcomings is both comforting and inspiring, and I can better see how my path is developing by learning from the experience of others.
Michael is a wonderful interviewer. His experience working in high stakes environments gives him the insights necessary to provide a space where his guests can open up and share personal anecdotes of failure and triumph. These honest conversations are the key to what make the podcast great. Michael believes, and I agree, that these honest conversations are important as “informal education” – lessons learned outside of a classroom and through experience. I have no interest in a glossy puff-piece on someone’s success. I’m a work-in-progress, and knowing that my situation isn’t unique, helps motivate me to keep improving and striving for greatness.
Guests on the Finding Mastery Podcast include world record holding athletes, gold medallists, CEOs, head coaches, and more. There really is an interview here for everyone. However, the most impactful guest for me has been Amy Hood, CFO for Microsoft.
Amy’s leading position in a global corporation is hard for me to imagine in my current stage of life, but the challenges, motivations, and self-descriptors that she and Michael identify during the interview resonate deeply with me.
Amy remarked that she’s viewed as intense, “bitchy” as she jokes in the interview, and that her self-worth has always been determined by performance output. She lived in fear of failure and was very hard on herself when she didn’t succeed as she intended. Most notably for me, she mentions that she can be unintentionally intimidating because she thinks quickly and speaks with confidence in front of others. As a woman, I know this behavior is often misinterpreted or dismissed. I also think and speak quickly and with confidence when I’m problem-solving with a group, and I have personally felt members of the group disengage out of intimidation. Michael and Amy discuss her moments of self-realization and the tools she uses to “round the edges”, so she can communicate more effectively, as well as how she shifted her perception from “perfection” to “progression”.
Amy speaks on how these lessons helped her create an inclusive corporate culture – one that didn’t promote the radical pressure that she unnecessarily placed on herself for so long. I was excited by her passion for providing her coworkers a sense of belonging. Shifting her own mentality, as well as her coworkers’, has encouraged much more success and growth in the company. Her episode is a must-listen, and I was literally vibrating with inspiration afterward.
An informal education strengthens a formal education, and I highly recommend the Finding Mastery Podcast as a means for rounding out your experience and finding inspiration. Dr. Michael Gervais provides a space for some of the most successful people in the world to share their tips, tricks, and techniques for mastery with me and you. The variety of industry, experience, race, gender, and creed is astounding, and I’m sure you’ll find multiple people whose stories resonate with you and encourage you to seek mastery for yourself. Now when I’m out with Tumbles, I’ll think to myself, “I create my own purpose. I’ve got this.” And so do you!