Welcome to the Deploy Yourself Newsletter. Every two weeks I share what impactful leadership looks like to show your own power. I also share the most insightful lessons and stories I encountered in the last two weeks. You can also read this issue online.


A Master Is A Beginner Again. An Expert Is Not.

The difference between someone who is a master (at any skill) versus an expert is that the master is willing to look like a fool. The master is willing to play and learn like a beginner, while the expert is all serious and committed to not making any mistakes. A master continues to learn in a mood of lightness and curiosity, while the expert hinders their own learning in a mood of heaviness and seriousness.

For the master – whether it is leadership or badminton or dance – there are no experts. There are only learners. The master’s journey is the journey of lifelong learning. And this journey never ends. The below are some enemies you might run into on your journey of mastery.

  1. Excessive use of external motivation (medals, bonuses) will slow you down when the going gets tough. Reconnecting with your values and purpose will put you back on the master’s path.
  2. Overcompetetiveness – What’s the point of a journey if it becomes too heavy and serious to enjoy the present moment. The ability to laugh at yourself when that happens puts you back on the journey.
  3. Perfectionism – Nothing is more destructive to creativity than setting standards so high that they pull you down rather than push you up. Mastery is not about getting it right all the time. It is about giving yourself permission to mess up every now and then.

Are you a high performer? Do you see any of the above dark sides of being a high performer in yourself?

Are you giving yourself permission to be a beginner again? Are you willing to look like a fool?

If you want to share your own experiences of being on the journey of mastery, reply to this email. I read and respond to every reply.

Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me


20 Questions Every Manager Must Ask In 1-on-1’s

As a leader, my most important meetings are my 1-on-1’s with my direct reports. It is the single best investment of my time. There is nothing more powerful than asking the right question at the right time. Powerful questions like these can become your prized tools of leverage as a leader and coach.

  1. Tell me something I don’t know about you?
  2. Where do you want to be in the next 1, 5, and 10 years?
  3. What are you excited about?
  4. What are you worried about?
  5. If you were to donate everything you have to a cause or charity, which would it be?
  6. What one word do you want people to use to describe you? What word do you think people currently use?
  7. What did you do recently that you are proud of?
  8. When was the last time you told a lie? Why? What would have happened if you had told the truth?
  9. What do you want to do that you will be proud of in 5 years’ time?
  10. How are you special? What makes you stand out?
  11. When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? What was the result?
  12. Tell me about your biggest failure in life? Biggest success? What did you learn from the experience?
  13. When was the last time you laughed at work?
  14. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would you say?
  15. What would your day look like if money was not a concern?
  16. Who do you look up to? Who are your mentors, both those you know personally and those who inspire you from afar?
  17. What do you do after work? What are your hobbies?
  18. What are your highest priorities in life? Where does work fit in?
  19. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
  20. What in your life is ‘on hold’? Until you lose weight, until you retire, etc. What are you waiting for?

From an article from my desk titled 20 Questions Every Manager Must Ask In One-on-One’s To Help People Find And Do The Best Work Of Their Lives


Michelle Obama on the messages are you practising?

Michelle Obama speaks in this video about Impostor Syndrome, and how it is a lie that many of us have been (unconsciously) practising. Below are some messages from the video which I am taking on to practice regularly:-

  1. “You can’t count on someone else to give you self confidence.”
  2. ”You belong. Practice a different set of messages.”
  3. “You are waiting for somebody to tell you that you belong. I am telling you – You Belong”

From a Michelle Obama video on youtube


George Bernard Shaw on Happiness

“We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.”

― George Bernard Shaw

That’s it for now. If you have any questions or feedback, or just want to introduce yourself, hit reply. I read and respond to every reply. All the best,


(Twitter) @SumitGupta
(LinkedIn) Connect