Playing second fiddle


We cannot all be masters. William Shakespeare

The reality that we can aspire to be someone we crave to be does not lessen the pain of realizing that we may not realistically achieve it. The human ego, human temperament and human thinking often conspire to fool us into believing that we have it in us to be natural leaders and masters of our chosen field, vocation or team. To be a master, it is not just intelligence, pure expertise nor mere leadership skills that count; rather it is often a bit of everything and something sizeable in some key areas that counts. Just look at the ensemble of musicians who are giving a live performance and you will realize that the conductor is the master and though he does not play a single musical instrument during the performance, yet with his baton he has the entire entourage literally playing to his tunes.

In corporate world, seniority often is linked with leadership roles and yet, more often than not, we see young yuppies usurping leadership roles from the more experienced hands. The reason is simple, leadership requires not just experience and expertise but also vision and updated technological grasp. How do the more experienced hands cope with this reality that they may have missed the bus? Very often they are pragmatic and see the writing on the wall and take a cue and move out of the way either accepting the reality with dignity and playing along as a senior team member or they find another niche in the market place. The also ran’s in the political race to presidencies who may have lost their leadership aspirations typify those who nearly became masters but didn’t.  It may very little to do with their abilities or competencies but more to do with the political climate of the time, the perception of the electorate and occasionally blind luck.

Being a master is fraught with risks; risk of acceptance, risk of performance pressure and risk of failure. They also need to take critical decisions, often make unpopular choices, be ready to defend their actions especially when the going is tough and be prepared to take the flak of collective failure. Often becoming a master is not something that one aspires for but is delivered providentially. As would happened when a predecessor dies or moves out suddenly and the crown is passed on by virtue of being second in command. Here the pressure to perform and deliver becomes even more tricky for expectations are high, the circumstances perhaps not too favorable and personal confidence might not be at its peak.

Ironically each one of us is a master of our own life and we have to guide our own future, destiny and our successes. Thus even if we play just the second fiddle in an orchestra, we need to play it like a master second fiddle and then alone will we synchronize and harmonize the performance and win the applause. It is when we can master our own self that we can perhaps lay claim to greater leadership roles and when the honor is bestowed, one can lead with aplomb and leave a mark on the world.

Remember: “Performance is your reality. Forget everything else.” Harold S. Geneen

Try this:

  1. Honestly ask yourself as to what aspect in your life you have a good mastery. Eg. Some might be excellent cooks, others good at teaching or others are meticulous and orderly. If you find that you really are not a maser in anything attempt to choose and aspect of life that you would like to master. Work on it immediately and stick to it till you master it.
  2. Ask yourself if you shy away from leadership roles. If yes ask yourself why you do it? Is it lack of knowledge, inability to commit, poor leadership skills, fear of failure etc. that makes you refuse leadership positions? Now work on a method to work on those chinks that have let you down from taking on a master’s position.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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