You probably don't know this about me, but it's true: I'm a card magician.
It's something that I've kept hidden for years. Almost like a habit that's been put into remission. A few months ago, I got tired of walking past a deck of cards and promising myself that I would pick them up once I got finished with my work.
It's painful when you deny yourself of something that you truly love. Regardless of the excuse we rely on, we all have a passion we have muted.
One day I finally picked up my cards and a flood of guilt washed through me. And then I dismissed the feeling. My passion shouldn't make me feel guilt. It should make me feel extreme happiness.
So I jumped off the cliff.
I decided in that moment to change my life. Yes, I am a CEO, entrepreneur, father, husband and church-goer. But now I am also a card magician.
As I began diving into this art form, I discovered so many things about myself and what it means to become truly great at something. I want to talk today about how we all can find within ourselves and our businesses a passion that compels us to take our art to the next level. I've learned these lessons from people like Ricky Jay. This guy doesn't do card tricks. It's much more than that. He is a master card magician. Keep reading to watch him in action!
Step1: Make the Decision to Become a Master
I am who I am... Unless I change my mind of course. I just made that up, but it sounds pretty good.
Whatever it is that you do, you can be average, or you can ascend to something great. At its core, what does your business do? Hopefully you can boil this down into one sentence that benefits the customer.
Very few companies have decided to become great. For most, the object of making money is enough. But what of those that ascend to mastery? How did they get there?
We'll talk about that in the following steps. For now, the important thing is to decide to become a master in your field. To be the best at what you do.
That is why I love card magic. It's a skill that can be refined over a lifetime. There are millions of people that have learned card tricks, but only a handful that have become masters. Let me introduce one of them to you.
Ricky Jay is one of my favorite card magicians. I would like to share his show with you to inspire you to take your business, art form, and passion to the highest level possible.
Step 2: Master the Fundamentals
Now that you've made the decision to be a master, you must master the fundamentals of what you do. This is starting to sound like a blog post written by Yoda. Anyways, I digress.
I've found that anyone who has mastered their passion took the fundamentals very seriously. Most of us glean over them to get to the good stuff, but to a master the fundamentals are the good stuff. Like a chef in training who is learning the exact positioning of his fingers on a knife when cutting, you need to figure out what the fundamentals are.
In order for your business to provide its service, what are the fundamentals that you and your staff have taken for granted? Take time to write them down. Obsess over them. They're the building blocks that you'll turn to time and again.
As a card magician, I've spent countless hours paying attention to the exact positioning of my fingers on the deck as I shuffle. Most people want to jump in and start learning tricks. I want to master the basics so that when I perform, it's not a card trick. It's magic.
Step 3: Find Joy in the Details
I've also learned that a master finds immense joy in the details of the work. She doesn't get bogged down by them. Instead, she revels in them. To her, it's the smallest details that make the biggest impact.
You can tell when a business is the master of its industry. All of the details come through. Author Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth Revisited, speaks about a hotel that has mastered the details. It's my favorite part of the book because by the end of reading the section, you want to go to this hotel for the weekend!
He speaks about how the hotel manages the customer's experience from check-in to check-out. Details like having a roaring fire in your room after you return for dinner take the hotel staff only minutes to create but leave a life-long impression on the traveler.
I would wager that there are details in your work that would have the same effect on your customers. Whatever it is that you decide to master, list out the small details that will make it that much sweeter.
It's a shame when a master hides his or her talent. Have you heard of Vivian Maier? She was a master that hid her talents from the world. She was amazingly private and locked up, and yet she was one of the world's greatest photographers. She died without anyone knowing her talents, until one day, a young man won a trunk in an auction. When he opened it up, it was full of negatives. This discovery led to one of America's greats photographers being shared with the world.
Don't believe me? They're making a movie about it now. Watch the trailer below!
As you master the service your business provides, or the art form you chase, share it with the world. The world deserves your best, and you're obligated to share it. If you don't, you'll be making a huge mistake.
Step 5: Create a Feeding Frenzy
When you decide to step away from average, you create a feeding frenzy. Given that so few people are willing to put in the time, master the fundamentals and obsess over the details, when someone does come forth as a master, their light shines bright. People flock to bright lights. It's inevitable, without them, life would be mundane.