PERSONAL MASTERY IS:
1) A journey of individual, personal, continuous improvement. Journey and continuous emphasize the ongoing nature of our pursuit of Personal Mastery. We do not march toward a destination but mine the gold along the way and relish its joys. Individual and personal remind us that while our growth is set in a context of other people and systems, we are responsible, we are in charge of our Personal Mastery.
2) Always looking for ways to grow, new things to learn, interesting people to meet. The devotee of Personal Mastery selects from the abundance of obvious opportunities for growth: books, tapes, lectures, courses, etc. The less obvious opportunities require assiduous attention to the learning potential in the people we involve ourselves with and the events of everyday. We speak of learning to learn. Most professionals acquire skills rapidly when needed. We also learn to expand our world and our self knowledge.
3) A way of life which stresses growth and satisfaction in personal and professional life. If we think of the time and energy we spend on work (defined as activity that produces a pay-check) as just a way to earn money to support our personal life, we are missing a large piece of the potential richness of life. We can enjoy, grow and take delight in all of the parts of our lives.
Organizations benefit from encouraging their people in the direction of Personal Mastery. Peter Senge observed, Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs. The reservoirs of ideas and energy stay full and available where Personal Mastery is nourished.
Individuals benefit in rich, rewarding lives. When we pursue Personal Mastery we become more comfortable with ourselves, more able to appreciate and enjoy pleasures both large and small. Deepak Chopra connects purpose in life with health and longevity. I believe Personal Mastery followers enjoy better health than we would otherwise.
We engage in Personal Mastery because it's the right thing to do. Most of the world's religions and philosophies encourage us to be our best. More important, Personal Mastery fits with my values. I owe it to myself and to the people in my life. Some count on me to be role model; others depend on me to shoulder certain responsibilities; others, just to be there.
Living in a Personal Mastery frame of mind makes life more fun, more exciting than just rocking along. The adrenaline rush of discovery, the quiet satisfaction of completing a task well or coaching a friend in a growth pattern disallow boredom and negative thinking.
Personal Mastery enables us to look after ourselves economically. The day of the parental company offering lifetime employment is gone. We carry our portfolios of qualities and skills with us. An ongoing effort to be better people and better at what we do is connected with prosperity. We who are in business for ourselves "eat what we grow." Our lives are like a self-sustaining farm; we live by what we create. Employees of large and small organizations are wise to take a similar view. Dedication to Personal Mastery equips us to forge a collaborative relationship with organizations that both need our skills and provide us with growth opportunities.
A central piece of endeavor in Personal Mastery is self understanding. Just living may advance our understanding of self some; pursuing the knowledge and understanding of self rewards us with fuller comprehension of who we are.
Writing an autobiography and reconnecting with people from the different seasons of our lives when we can and pondering all we know of our experiences at other times provides a backdrop for understanding the me of now.
We must recognize our world view, our mental models, in order to understand our needs, wants and reactions. Once we bring mental models into awareness, we can make changes if we choose. With awareness and dedication to our own growth, we truly can recreate ourselves.
One hallmark of the growing person is the management of the present reality and the vision of the future. We can bring present thinking and vision together by: accepting the tension between what is now and what will be; believing that we can make the journey from now into our future; seeing our vision as including the present, that is, living the vision now.
Discipline stands alone as an absolute necessity for Personal Mastery. Without it, personal habits and outside influences control our daily lives. Disciplining ourselves to do the work of Personal Mastery is not the easiest thing to do and sometimes unpleasant. We choose to suffer the pain of discipline rather than the pain of regret. The pain of regret is nagging and ongoing. The pain of discipline subsides with persistence.
The first discipline is to recognize that we must change and that change consumes time and energy and often brings discomfort.
Self and system make up an environment. All aspects of our environment, especially the people in it can teach us something useful. Take advantage of others insight. Listen! Everyone has something to tell us. About people, we choose the people we mix with on an ongoing basis. We intentionally surround ourselves with positive, caring, growing, realistic, fun people and mix with others sparingly. If we can help negative, struggling people, we do gladly. If not, we put some space between us and them.
We discipline ourselves to keep failure in perspective as a learning experience. No experience is final unless we see it as so.
Personal Mastery requires disciplining ourselves to give up time-wasters and put our time on achieving our goals. This is not to say that we are always dead serious and working at something that looks like work; we have fun, too!
We set our own agenda by making our own plans. We have our own vision, mission and goals and as well as those we share with others.
Join the many who live in a Personal Mastery mindset! You will achieve what you want and contribute richly to your organization and the lives of your family and friends.