Over this last week, I re-read a great little book called Mastery: The Keys To Success & Long Term Fulfillment by George Leonard. According to the author bio, Mr. Leonard is the author of several books on human possibility and social change including The Transformation, The Ultimate Athlete, and The Way of Aikido.

Mr. Leonard is a practitioner of Aikido, arguably one of the most difficult of the martial arts to master. His learnings as a student of Aikido led him to write this book on mastery, in which he translates the philosophical and practical drivers of his quest for mastery in this martial art, to a more universalized quest for mastery.

Other than enjoying the book, it seemed an appropriate topic for the sales process blog. Why? If I was asked to distill the book down to one salient point, it would be this:

It is neither possible nor useful to define mastery as a specific level of proficiency. It is more useful to consider the quest for mastery as, on a day-to-day basis, a journey of self improvement. As such, mastery should be thought of as a discipline; a practice; a mentality that inspires showing up every day and working towards an longer-term, larger, ultimately unreachable goal rather than towards some arbitrary recognition or some specific, high level of proficiency.

In several places in the book, Mr. Leonard refers to process; a methodology for following a proven path towards an ongoing level of improvement via engagement. In this way, Mastery: The Keys To Success & Long Term Fulfillment is a great book for anyone trying to improve at anything – from sales, to martial arts, to simply the enjoyment of life itself.

Traditional Zen philosophy is not for everyone. Mastery: The Keys To Success & Long Term Fulfillment has roots in Zen philosophy (among other things), but is presented as an accessible and practical reminder that showing up every day and doing your job IS mastery in the making. Furthermore, since the journey rather than the destination tends to be the real “juice of life”, learning to enjoy the juice, rather than an elusive and often myopically sought after goal, is a path towards both fulfillment and success.

Many martial artists quit once they get their black belts. Many salespeople quit pushing when they meet their revenue target. Many of us have been conditioned to strive for a prize, rather than to simply do the work — and to enjoy and prosper from our efforts. Rather, we often choose to live-or-die based on the outcome of some specific reward or recognition.

The word “mastery” sounds very lofty. Perhaps the idea of “The Journeymen” is a better metaphor for those of us in sales. Either way, showing up every day, surrendering to the execution of our process and working as a master, or a journeyman, is a sure path to long-term success, and inner peace. Looking for short cuts, and living-or-dying by the quarterly target leads elsewhere.

Mastery: The Keys To Success & Long Term Fulfillment was a good reminder of these points, and it is a short, enjoyable read. I hope that you enjoyed this review, and that it was useful for you in your quest for sales mastery.



Hi, I’m David Masover. With nearly three decades of B2B sales experience, I work as a private practice Sales Force Development Consultant. I help company leaders understand the root causes of sales issues that keep revenue from growing as fast as it could, and to fix those problems through work with reps, managers, systems, processes, strategies, and tools. You can learn more about me and my work and/or get in touch with me here at my web site www.davidmasover.com/contact/ or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/masover/