A Cub Among Lions

You will never rise higher than your self-identity – Robin Sharma

This past weekend I was afforded the chance to attend Robin Sharma’s Personal Mastery Academy. It was a two-day conference set at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in downtown Toronto. The conference is designed to teach participants how to become masters of their personal and professional journeys. There were countless ideas and facts shared by Robin in a very dynamic, professional yet jovial delivery. It was truly a “brain workshop”.

To sum up my experience in two words, they would be overwhelming enlightenment. I was submerged in a sea of worldly over-achievers from 30+ different countries and here I was, just a simple software developer from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. I felt like a featherweight hopping into the ring with a heavyweight each time I engaged in a conversation with these world class people. At times, I became overwhelmed with all the social interaction. Those that know me, know that I struggle in new social situations. Those that know me well, know that I have come a long way with my social game. Don’t get me wrong, while I was very uncomfortable at times throughout the weekend, I know there is growth in that situation so I welcomed every bit of the overwhelming feeling.

While I soaked up everything that I had heard at the conference, my biggest take away came at the very beginning. Robin shared the analogy that we have two brains; the warrior brain and the master brain. Now I have always played with the analogy of the growth versus fixed mindset that Carol Dweck talks about in her book “Mindset“. Proper mindsets are crucial in how we react to our world and how we grow within it. Robin’s warrior and mastery brain analogy dig down a little deeper. Both ideas form a perfect coupling to understanding how our thought processes work and how we can overcome weaknesses.

Robin had described our warrior brain as being the brain that keeps us safe. It is designed to fight off threats and keep our part of the tribe so that we do not wander into dangerous situations. He described our mastery brain as being the brain that allows us to grow, express our creativity and individuality. While both brains are very important in our lives, we cannot find true success until we balance the usage of our two brains. If we remain too far into our warrior’s brain we will never venture outside our comfort zones to grow. If we remain too far inside our mastery brain, we can fall into irreversible danger.

This past weekend I realized that I have been living too much in my warrior’s brain. It may stem from my past or it may be a character trait. I always seek to stay within my safety zone so as to avoid hurt or pain. During the conference, I had tried my best to hold it together while navigating in a sea of amazing people. My warrior’s brain was in full action, keeping me safe from ridicule. There were times I retracted back into my introverted self and hoped to not make a fool of myself. I refused to break away from the tribe so I played it safe every chance I could.

At the beginning of day 2, Robin asked brave audience members to speak up and share with everyone what they had learned the day before. Seizing the opportunity to exercise my mastery brain, I decided to speak up. I reflected on my past childhood trauma and how I was living my life chained to my warrior’s brain in order to protect myself from future hurt and that in order to grow up from that, I needed to learn to live more in my mastery brain. At that moment, I felt a piece inside of me grow. Here I was, a cub in a lion’s den standing up and placing my humility in the hands of people who could crush me, but they didn’t. I received support from some very friendly people who were amazingly humble. The lion’s in the den had embraced me because I stood up and proved that I had a mastery brain.

My takeaway from this weekend is that we all need to find a balance between our warrior and mastery brains in order to achieve unimaginable success. We must push ourselves even if it means standing up in a crowd where feel you are not worthy. In order to become a lion from a cub, you must prove that you are willing to escape your den of safety to find creative strengths to solve your safest weaknesses.

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