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In Search of Mastery

The idea of mastery is an intriguing one. To become a master at your art, your profession, and your business is a level we all aspire to, but there’s more to mastery than putting in your 10,000 hours.

Are you a master? Are you on the path to mastery in whatever is your calling?  More and more entrepreneurs are thinking about mastery these days. As well they should–as mastery is essential for business success in the ultra-competitive global economy we find ourselves in.

Mastery is a trendy topic too. Our popular business literature is full of proclamations of what mastery is and requires of people and organizations. I am particularly amused with the accepted idea that mastery is simply the result of 10,000 hours of practice. After that amount of time invested you’re considered to be a master.  Mastery requires more than investing time because, in itself, it’s timeless.

How much time does it take to be a master at living your life on your terms?

I certainly have spent significantly longer than 10,000 hours learning about that.  Mastery of one's own life is life’s work and there is no limit to your potential level of mastery- it’s going to take an entire lifetime.

Claiming your own mastery is risky business – but do it anyway! 

The trouble with our culture is if you self-proclaim your mastery, you run the risk of others judging you as nothing more than a master of your own conceit. History has many examples of the fates of self-proclaimed “masters”. The conventional wisdom of cultures down through the ages has demonstrated little tolerance for such people. Consequently people have little incentive to become masters of their destiny. It’s safer to fit in, be nice and maintain a steady job with your weekends free.

You become the master of your destiny the very second you proclaim it. Nobody is going to acknowledge or bestow on you the powers of mastery.

Mastery is a choice you make for yourself about the quality of your presence demonstrated through your own thoughts, actions and behavior. And you can’t behave like a master until you recognize and appreciate the source of your own mastery–which has been with you since your birth.

The signs that guide the way.

Whether you know it or not, you are the hero of your life journey. The hero’s journey still requires navigational aides or signs along the way that reinforce the belief and self-awareness that you are indeed walking your own master’s path. Like a lighthouse on a rocky shore, this navigational beacon will never come from the acknowledgments of the outside world. The direction signs come from within you. I like to call it your  “true north” or “oneliness”– a.k.a., your purpose or reason for being.

On the road to mastery, to keep the compass needle pointing true north, you must acknowledge and follow your own natural inclinations and listen to the voice of your intuition. For many people, it’s a voice stilled by decades of conformity, shoe-horning their life to fit into somebody else’s mold or prescription for how things ought to be done. Parents, teachers, bosses, the culture, even our own failures conspire to divert us from trusting the path of our own natural inclinations.

Paradoxically, life mastery is unattainable. Mastery is a life-long process, a path of fuller and greater expression to be traveled indefinitely… it’s not a status level or place of arrival. There’s only one place we are all destined for– oblivion (whatever that means to you).  Assuming you agree with that premise, the only thing there is to master is your own hero’s journey. How ever long it takes. Life’s mastery (whatever the term means to you) is your Life’s Work… you’re here to be the fullest expression of your life. That’s your job, your real business–to forever pursue the mastery of your own calling.

After you, they threw out the mold.

There is only one you. There has never before been one like you, nor will their ever be another like you. You are forever the only one of you. Embedded in your DNA are the unique, never-to be-duplicated codes for every aspect of your unique potential.

This includes, of course, your magnificent brain– a complex and sophisticated reality producing interface device that is the product of 6 million years of evolution. And you have come to this life with the code of your natural inclinations hard-wired right into your amazing brain. Your brain is capable of constructing any formless idea of your limitless potential. Your natural inclinations are the clues for your masterful achievements. You have only to discover and use them.

These natural inclinations must have their due or your depression and unhappiness will have no end. Success will always be elusive.

Let’s get down to business.

Most entrepreneurs and solo professionals are stuck on a plateau of one sort or another–a place where they experience resistance, or the stagnation of a fuller expression of their natural inclinations. Many believe mastery is, for whatever reason, beyond their grasp.

Everything in nature is governed by the “law of increase”, likewise, mastery will require you to continually increase your knowledge and your contribution of value to the world. Like gravity, this creative force within you is always on. It’s absolutely imperative that you spend all your “time” engaged in your natural inclinations–those thoughts, ideas, activities and skills that bring you a never-ending source of energy, creativity and joy to innovate new value for your customers and clients.

When you follow the code of your embedded natural inclinations, embrace the value of your oneliness, and commit yourself to mastery of your Life’s Work, you’ll find the plateaus of your business or professional life as nothing more than the welcome stairway to greater expression and fulfillment.  Your realization of your mastery becomes an ever expanding and self-fulfilling prophecy.

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