Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The mystery of mastery

Maybe, just maybe, the grail you seek is mastery in your profession, business or life. How might you reach that mastery?

The search for mastery starts by recognizing that there are masters and levels of mastery in every field. The Blue Man Group, Tom Weir, Pierre Berton, Timothy Eaton, Yoda, The Beatles, Peter Mansbridge, Bruce Lee, Jim Carey, Shania Twain, Wayne Gretzky, Albert Einstein, Terry Fox.

Not all masters are so famous. Can you identify the masters in your field? What can you learn from them? And how can you use their examples to pursue mastery?

We should all explore our own questions about mastery, even if we end up with more questions than answers – as I did when I interviewed some of the people that I consider masters in my field. (Yoda did not return my calls.) Enjoy these results of my exploration.

How do you identify the masters in any industry?

“By their positive impact and innovation. Masters don’t copy. They innovate. People doing best practices are not masters; they are only copiers. When a company puts together a new idea like a Google, it is a master – it owns the territory.”
Ian Percy, CSP, HoF, CPAE

“By the respect they receive from their contemporaries. By the kind of organization they build, the working environment they create, how they engage people. Those are hallmarks of leadership and mastery. The mastery model is not about the business but more about the person and believing they can make a difference in any environment.”
Larry Pearson, CSP

“Examine leaders and managers by how rushed and overwhelmed they appear to be. The more overwhelmed they seem, the less they are masters of what they do. Masterful leaders know how to delegate and coach their teams. Self-awareness is another test of mastery. Masters acknowledge any weakness and counterbalance it without overdoing it.”
Jim Clemmer, CSP

What is mastery?

“The first thing that comes to mind is technical skill in the job. And taking that skill to the next level where it becomes intuitive and natural as opposed to preconceived.”
Jeff Mowatt, CSP

“Mastery is reaching the top of one’s craft. Masters really know how to do what they are doing, having truly integrated all the components. Others look to the master for counsel, help or guidance.”
Linda Tarrant, CSP, HoF

“We get to a stage of mastery when all of the basics and most of the refinements are second nature, at the level of unconscious competence. Only the minute refinements require conscious effort.”
Warren Evans, CSP, HoF

“Mastery in life and business is reasonably simple to understand but difficult to apply. People resist following the simple principles of mastery because they look too simple.”
Peter Legge, CSP, HoF, CPAE

Well, grasshopper – remember – wax on, wax off.
The master

PS: All of the above masters are members of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

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