By Jay P. Mazurowski, CRA, FAHRA
October 2010 — Many successful people work hard to research, develop, and hone the skills and talents necessary to catapult them to greatness, while others innately understand many of the principles required to realize their vision. In either case, success is only achieved though planning, action (learning), and persistence. “Peter’s Principles on Personal Development” is a four-part series that parallels a young boy’s journey to the Broadway stage with the same personal development skills employed by millions of successful business leaders.
By now, many of you know my 13 year old son Peter is starring in a popular Broadway musical, Billy Elliot. Every week, he sings, dances, and acts in front of cheering audiences in the theater district of Manhattan. At this very young and formative age, he is beginning to realize his dream. He did not get there by accident or luck; his journey was not unlike any other successful person. It started with a vision backed by purpose, passion, and perseverance.
To be an effective leader in radiology or any field of endeavor, you first need to be effective as an individual. You must master the art of self-leadership or what many refer to as personal mastery. Personal mastery can be defined very broadly as having a clear understanding of what is truly important to you, combined with a purposeful, specific vision and the wherewithal to create the desired results.
People with a high level of personal mastery assimilated into their vision not just consciously, but at a deeper, subconscious level where it influences even more of their behavior. They continually develop their ability to create or influence the results they truly seek. They are decidedly patient and persistent; they are unfettered by setbacks and roadblocks. They require no outside motivation, but rather, are self-motivated.
While many people have goals and objectives, most of us do not have a real personal vision. A personal vision is specific: a clear picture of a desired destination, backed by purpose. The trouble most people face is that they have a difficult time deciding on what it is they are truly passionate about in the first place. For Peter, his vision of being a Broadway performer was not simply a cool idea; it was his calling. Frustration, setbacks, and disappointment, no matter how distracting, could not sway him from his vision because, in his mind, this is what he was meant to do.
On his journey to Broadway, Peter’s prevailing conscious thoughts were dominated on a daily basis by the goals needed to fulfill his vision. Consequently, his subconscious actions helped to keep his path true. He never entertained negative ideas like, “I’m too young,” “I’m not a strong enough singer,” “I don’t have industry connections,” etc. Too many people focus on the obstacles in their path and subsequently lose their vision or abandon their goals altogether. All goal attainment requires some degree of effort and persistence. We have to learn something new, acquire new skills and above all, persist, if we are to move toward our vision.
At a very young age, Peter was acutely aware of how much he didn’t know about the business and how his limited level of talent and experience paled against the professionals he admired. He understood that hard work, continual learning, and persistence would not be optional if he was to become a competitive force. Yet his focus, as with those who show evidence of personal mastery, remained intently on his desired result versus the means to achieve them.
Personal mastery means staying true to your vision; remaining focused on that which is truly important and not being distracted by the problems and challenges you face along the way. People with high levels of personal mastery have a keen awareness and more importantly, an acceptance of, the gap between where they are today and where they want to be. They are not lulled into the false sense that “things are good enough as they are,” but rather are motivated by this gap and continually work to close it. Those who understand the concepts of personal mastery realize and accept the fact that they will never fully “arrive,” but rather, it is the journey that is important. They necessarily live in a continual learning and development mode.
People watch Peter perform on stage and, I imagine, see him to be an enigma of sorts. Talented, gifted, and very lucky; a young boy enjoying a one in a million opportunity. But I see a disciplined person who knew exactly what he wanted and never wavered from that vision.
For most of us, the passion is radiology or hospital administration. Becoming the best leader we can is perhaps the purpose, but what is the vision? Leadership starts with self-leadership and the essence of leadership is vision. Find yours if you haven’t already and chart your course today. Prepare for the obstacles and setbacks. Persevere and keep your vision true.
Jay P. Mazurowski, MS, CRA, FAHRA is director of radiology at Concord Hospital in Concord, NH. Jay was the recipient of the 2009 AHRA Gold Award, as well as a past president of the AHRA Board of Directors and a contributor to both Link and Radiology Management. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.