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Mastering the S Curve from Start to Finish

15 Dec, 2019 Phil Case Fluid Culture

As we approached the end of 2018, I reflected a lot on what I hope the new year would look like for my priorities and how I could be a better husband, father and team member, and how to give back in a more meaningful way to others. I feel that 2018 had a steeper S curve and had been more difficult than I expected. I have been faced with my own challenges, and am learning that what worked in the past doesn’t necessarily apply today and that others expect more of me while raising their sights as well.

In her recent book “Build an A Team,” Whitney Johnson talks about the idea of “S curves” of learning: inexperience, engagement and mastery. We are all on different points of the S curve, and every few years we transition from one S curve to the next in order to continue seeing growth in ourselves. These come in the forms of career opportunities, learning a new skill, taking on leadership responsibilities, becoming a parent for the first time and many more. We feel most alive during the engagement period when we gain experience to know what to do, where to find answers and how to learn. The key is to know where you are on your S curve and then seek help from others that have already taken that path.

I had an experience this morning along my own S curve. I was invited to go backcountry skiing for the first time with a friend. I grew up in Phoenix, so skiing wasn’t a part of my repertoire and only came later in life. I feel that I’m generally a decent skier, keeping up with others and skiing pretty much anything at a resort. But this morning was an entirely different experience and I felt like, in a lot of ways, I was attempting to ski for the first time. While I loved getting out, seeing the sunrise and trying something new, it caused me to reflect that I perhaps was now at the bottom end of a new S curve and beginning something that would take a great amount of time and effort to master.

We are all given different challenges through life, some intentional and others that hit us unexpectedly. But it is how we plan to learn, seek for growth and conquer a new S curve and paradigm that allows us to achieve satisfaction in our lives, careers and with ourselves.

Now get out and start your new S curve!

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