Want To Develop Personal & Professional Mastery?
Curious about mastery and looking for answers for what it is and how to develop it? Want to discover what you are really good at? Or are you searching for mastery books or movies about mastery? If so, you have come to the right place.
What is Mastery?
We all talk about mastery as if we have a clear idea of what it is. But the definition may surprise you.
Mastery is ...
- the demonstration of a great skill or technique
- thorough knowledge of a subject
- the ability to display great skill or achieve a significant accomplishment
- the action, skill or process demonstrated by a master
So mastery spans and encompasses the areas of skill, knowledge, and taking action ... which is something we can all do.
Far too often, it seems like personal and professional mastery is reserved for others. That it is not easily obtainable and a goal few would aspire to, let alone reach. But mastery is at the heart of every great product and service -- from inventing and teaching to building furniture and writing computer code.
Why is Mastery Important?
Mastery is important for several reasons. One is our preference for being around and served by people who know what they are doing. For example, which would you prefer -- a novice or a skilled expert when needing open heart surgery?
When getting your car fixed, do you prefer a master mechanic or someone looking under the hood for the first time?
If the cost were the same, we automatically want the more skilled, more knowledgeable. So professional mastery is at the heart of a great business or professional success.
But we also like to be around people who demonstrate personal mastery -- who have great health, a great attitude and are actively growing, stretching and reaching their goals. Some people call it character building, others refer to themselves as being "a work in progress", but it all speaks to working on gaining the skills and improving our knowledge of how the world works in order to be better, happier and more successful - no matter how we define success.
How Do I Develop Mastery?
Developing your skill and knowledge to the level of a master is a process anyone can work on. It starts with a simple plan ..
- Identify What You Want To Master: Think about what you want to master, the specific knowledge and skills you want to acquire and perfect.
- Make a Mastery Statement: Then write out a clear, detailed statement of the area of mastery you want to obtain and details about the skills, knowledge and results you want to achieve. This helps focus and clarify your thinking so you can clearly envision the end results you are after.
- Start Daydreaming: Yes, once you have your statement, you want to start using your imagination to run through the issues you will face and connect with the positive emotions and consequences of reaching that level of mastery.
- Look For Ways to Get Started: Once you start the process, opportunities that you overlooked or were not open to start to appear around you. Ideas can come from anywhere -- a TV show, a billboard, a schedule of upcoming classes at the local college, surfing the Internet. Stay open to new opportunities and follow up on them.
- Seek Out Inspiration: Change is hard, especially if you are stepping out of your comfort zone. So actively look for and surround yourself with the things, ideas, experiences, activities, people and places that inspire you to become a master. That could a simple as creating a vision board, or buying a calendar that highlights your area of mastery. Maybe you want to start reading articles and autobiographies by your role models or other masters you would like to emulate.
- Get Active Becoming A Master: Start to do the activities and have the things a master of your subject or skill would have. Visit or hang out in the places you would if you were already a master. Check out and sign up for a master class in your area. Connect up online or in person with local masters.
- Practice Your Skills: The research shows that there is a magic amount of time to master most skills or professions -- 10,000 hours. So get started putting in your time practicing and mastering the skills you need. And do not just put the time in, develop an attitude of constant improvement that allows for plateaus and a way to monitor your progress and keep upping the ante on your skill level.
- Grow Your Knowledge Base: Mastery is usually not just being able to do something -- it is knowing what is the right thing to do, when to do it and how to do it with the least effort or most skill. So, along with practicing your skills, you want to consciously focus on learning about your materials, tools, processes and results. Use experts to can advice and feedback, as well as draw on your own experience. Experiment and see what happens. both expected and unexpected. Perfect your timing as well as limiting the steps down to the right number.
- Observe Other Masters At Work: Often mastery is achieved not just by doing something, but by eliminating all the waste and nonessential effort. And watching a master at his craft will often reveal how little they do with great results. It also is helpful to see how they have organized their environment, what tools they use and the materials they prefer to work with. Master chefs are particular about their knives and prefer to work with the freshest ingredients when cooking -- even if they are the least expensive. Anything that spoils the outcome is left out, so the ingredients and process is simplified and perfected.
Once you have gotten this far, you will want to start the process all over, refining your ideas about mastery and what you can achieve. Then daydream about not only how much you have accomplished, but what comes next. Then refine and update your mastery statement. This will help you see the progress you have made and give you a chance to put down on paper new ideas and insights you have gained about mastering your craft.
How Can I Discover My Area Of Mastery
If you want to learn what your own personal area of mastery is -- what you were born to do -- then you will want to start by making a list of your mastery ingredients to create a personal mastery statement.
Mastery Books & Tools
Although the skills and knowledge varies with the area of mastery you want to work on -- there is a basic process of mastering anything. So here are the top resources I recommend. Some of these talk directly about the process of mastery, while others deal with talent, motivation, peak experiences, and excellence. All of them have ideas and insights that will help you develop mastery.
Inspiring Mastery Movies
If you need to be inspired, here are a few of the movies I recommend. They span sports, entertainment, science and manufacturing fields.