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Dr. Renate Volpe is an award-winning self-made success. In this thrilling video interview, she relays how she learnt from her own ‘hard knocks’ and gives key wisdom on how to to brand yourself, rise above politics and to give your gift authentically to the world.To view the interview click this links:





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Home | Personal Mastery for Leaders

Personal Mastery for Leaders


“Personal Mastery means consistently approximating your authentic self, whilst remaining relevant to the context at large.”

by Dr Renate Volpe

If there is light in the soul
There will be beauty in the person
There will be harmony in the house
If there is harmony in the house there will be order in the nation
If there is order in the nation there will be peace in the world

Chinese Proverb

I have presented this programme for Wits Business School for the past 8 years. International audiences from Shell and local audiences from Foshini attend this program under the auspices of Grant Sieff Leading Edge consultancy with high acclaim.

Dr Renate Volpe

All too often, people in the world of work end up doubting themselves and seek validation and affirmation, of their worth, outside of themselves.    It is at this point that they begin to loose the ability to contribute optimally to their environment.

As people we need to feel accepted and appreciated. It is in the pursuit of the fulfillment of these needs that we most often compromise our individual uniqueness and talents.

In life I have learnt that it is not so much simply what we know that enables us to respond optimally to expectations and pressures around us, but rather the process of consciously and knowingly, considering and processing our options prior to responding .

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Personal Mastery for me is the ability to live consciously and courageously.

It assumes that we need to take responsibility and accountability for those circumstances within which we find ourselves.

It involves appreciating that we need to manage ourselves in relation to others, striving to be respectful of them and not compromising ourselves in the process.

It presumes that knowing that which drives us, that which gives us meaning and purpose, is that around which we should build our lives.

Finally, it concurs with Victor Frankls’ life philosophy namely: that all can be taken from us in life, but we will always retain the power to choose the attitude that we hold towards what happens to us in our daily lives.

The Personal Mastery Process

The primary source of control we may exercise in life is to understand how we respond between what affects us and how we choose to respond.

In order to respond optimally we need to understand the process that occurs between the stimulus and the response.

This process is quite simply explained via the acronym LEAD.

  • The L stands for listen, what is happening here?
  • The E for, lets explore this at a factual and an emotional level,
  • The A for, now let look at constructive alternatives for action and their consequences and
  • The D for decide, that is, time to start taking responsible action.

The competency of Personal Mastery involves four primary elements:


We need to become aware of our mental filters. That is, what do we not want to hear, see, and feel? What are we afraid of? What do we think will rattle our reality? What do we believe may cause us pain, or confront us enough to force us to change something? These filters are simply prejudices we have gathered throughout life. Over time some of these have been integrated into our belief system. This belief system influences that which we base our decisions on. Self-management implies reviewing these belief systems for their current applicability regularly. It entails being prepared to manage the levels of discomfort that arise.

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Personal Mastery involves respecting how we may balance the intellectual and emotional parts of ourselves. It implies finding a balance between what happens to us and honoring those emotions that result. Only when we can access both these parts of ourselves in the process of making a decision for action may we consider our response to be truly mature. The function of our emotions,  is primarily to connect us to our perception of events, and to ground us in reality.


We need to understand how resilient or vulnerable our self-concept (self image, self confidence, self esteem, and self ideal) is, or has become. We need to be aware of how our life experiences and relationships have influenced our view of ourselves within the current world context.

How have we processed the feedback we have received over the years? Feedback is not a narcissistic injury it provides opportunity for assessing relevance, learning, growth, and development.


And in this case most importantly, self management involves being aware of what grounds us, connects us to life, what gives us meaning, what makes sense, and has purpose for us?

That is, what gives us meaning in life?  Who are we? What are our dreams? How do we use our gifts? What is our unique contribution to the world? What is our reason for living?

Knowing this, being connected to this, allowing this to ground us provides perspective in an ever changing world.

In intellectual terms, personal mastery conceptually is simple to grasp. In practice however we rarely create opportunities for review, practice and application.

Why one may ask, does one not make the time? Personal Mastery demands the courage to be authentic and individualistic, and as such unique. In a world being more comfortable with conformity and adherence to commonly accepted practices, this takes courage*.

*The latin derivative of the word courage means to from the heart!

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